March 5th, 2007 05:33 EST
Businesses Are Encouraged To Return Their Application To SBA As Quickly As Possible
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Homeowners, renters and business owners who were issued a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application as a result of the tornadoes and severe storms that occurred on Feb. 12 and 13, should complete and return the application as quickly as possible, SBA officials said today. Doing so will ensure that each individual and family may be considered for other types of disaster assistance after SBA makes a decision on the loan request.
Any resident of Jefferson, Orleans or St. Martin Parish who suffered loss from the storms and tornadoes should register for assistance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Residents may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585, or online at www.fema.gov. After registering for disaster assistance with FEMA, most individuals will receive an SBA application for a low-interest disaster loan. SBA low-interest disaster loans help cover the costs of repairing damaged or destroyed real estate and personal property.
"We strongly urge you to submit your application as quickly as possible. Even if you are not sure that you will qualify for a loan, you must complete and return your SBA application in order to be referred to other disaster assistance programs," said Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort. "The sooner you return your application, the sooner we can help you," he added.
"If SBA is unable to assist a disaster victim with all of their disaster losses, SBA may refer the applicant to other assistance programs, such as FEMA's Other Needs Assistance program. However, SBA cannot refer an individual to any other program without first making a decision on the application. We want to make sure that every disaster victim remains eligible for help from all federal and state assistance programs that may be available to them," Champagne said.
SBA is the federal government's primary source of funds for long term private sector disaster recovery. For disaster damage to property owned by individuals, families and businesses of all sizes that is not fully covered by insurance, the basic form of federal assistance is a low-interest loan from SBA. SBA disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations may borrow up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Additionally, Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $1.5 million are available to small businesses to help pay their fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster.
SBA customer service representatives are at the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) listed below to answer specific questions about how a disaster loan from SBA may help each victim recover from the disaster damage, and will provide one-on-one assistance in completing their loan application.
The following DRCs are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.
St. Martin Parish, Fire Training Center, 1035 Ruth Bridge Highway, Breaux Bridge
Jefferson Parish, Avenue D Gym, 1200 Avenue D, Westwego
Orleans Parish, Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 4128 Franklin Ave., New Orleans
Individuals or business owners unable to visit a DRC may obtain information by calling toll-free 1-800-659-2955. Hearing impaired individuals may call toll-free 1-800-877-8339. Or visit SBA's website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. The deadline to apply for these loans is April 24, 2007.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or repairing disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.