Disaster assistance loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are not just for businesses.
Homeowners may also qualify for low-interest loans to help rebuild or repair their homes or repair or replace uninsured or underinsured flood damaged personal property. Renters may qualify for loans to repair or replace personal property. In fact, the majority of all SBA disaster loans are made to homeowners.
Hurricane Katrina victims who receive an SBA loan application after they register for disaster assistance with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should complete the home disaster loan application and return it as soon as possible, even if they don’t think they’re interested in a loan.
Individuals who do not qualify for SBA loans may be referred to other disaster assistance programs, but they must complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for other programmatic assistance. The loan terms are designed to be affordable, with terms extending up to 30 years with interest rates around 3 percent.
Loans amounts are based on the actual cost of repairing or rebuilding a flood-damaged home and personal property, minus any insurance reimbursements for the same loss.
Current loan limits are as follows:
* Homeowners – Up to $200,000 to repair or rebuild a primary residence to its condition before the disaster.
* Homeowners and renters – Up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property such as clothing, furniture and automobiles.
Individuals who have not registered with FEMA for disaster assistance can register online at www.fema.gov or by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Businesses and non-profit organizations such as charities, churches and private universities may apply for business physical disaster loans up to $1.5 million to repair or replace property owned by the business, including real estate, plus machinery, equipment, fixtures and inventory not covered by insurance.
For information about how to complete the loan application, or for more information on SBA assistance, call the SBA helpline at 1-800-659-2985, or visit www.sba.gov.
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