According to FEMA and the State of Louisiana, the primary funding source for long-term recovery assistance for Louisiana residents affected by the recent hurricanes is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) low-interest loan program.
As the recovery period proceeds, completing an application will reportedly ensure consideration for a range of government assistance for the long term. Many FEMA benefits become available only if the SBA application is submitted.
“We want residents to be mindful that they do not have to be small business owners to access the SBA loan program,” said Scott Wells, the federal coordinating officer. “SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, landlords and some nonprofit organizations, as well as to businesses of any size. The common thread is that they have suffered damage and losses due to disasters.”
In the wake of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes, SBA helps by providing loans to:
* Homeowners to repair or replace disaster damages to real estate;
* Homeowners and renters to help replace personal property losses;
* Businesses to repair or replace disaster damage to property, including real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and supplies;
* Nonprofits for similar physical business losses; and
* Small businesses for working capital to assist through the disaster-recovery period.
SBA loans are designed for those disaster victims who are either uninsured or are not fully covered by insurance. Interest rates can be as low as 2.687 percent for homeowners and renters, and 4.0 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years.
“We realize that assuming responsibility for a loan is far from most individuals’ thoughts when recovering from the 2005 hurricane disasters affecting citizens of Louisiana ,” said Col. Jeff Smith, the state coordinating officer. “But there are compelling advantages to the SBA program. Loans are tied to the lowest possible interest rates, making long-term recovery as affordable as possible. The program also gives borrowers a good measure of control over loan transactions by enabling them to decide what to do with the money and to set spending priorities.”
Individuals should register for disaster assistance by calling the FEMA toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).
For additional information about how to complete the SBA loan application or for more information on SBA loan assistance, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-659-2955 ; or visit www.sba.gov/disaster .
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