Homeowners, renters and businesses with April 28 storm damage may qualify for a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance.
The loans cover property, contents, automobiles and business-related losses.
The key to applying for an SBA loan is to first register with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Beverlyn McDonald, public affairs specialist with the SBA disaster office.
McDonald is on a mission to get the word out to homeowners, renters and businesses.
“These SBA loans are provided for any uncompensated, uninsured losses,” McDonald told The News Courier Tuesday. “These loans are not only for the business owner, but for the homeowner and renter as well.”
With an SBA loan, the disaster survivor would not have to wait for his or her insurance company to settle.
“The survivor could apply for the loan, begin the work and even complete repairs before the insurance company settles,” McDonald said.
The loan recipient would then use his or her insurance settlement to pay off the SBA loan. The borrower would have up to 30 years to repay the loan, depending on how much uncompensated loss the property sustained. Generally speaking, the more damage, the more time one would have to repay the debt.
The SBA also offers disaster loans to private, nonprofit organizations that sustained losses.
Loans for homeowners can be as much as $200,000 for the structure or dwelling and as much as $40,000 for the contents of the dwelling or structure, McDonald said. The interest charged on the loan is 2.1 percent, she said.
Loans for renters can be as much as $40,000 to replace their personal property, including their automobile, McDonald said. Vehicle repair or replacement may be available when there is an uncompensated, uninsured loss. The interest rate is 2.1 percent.
Business owners can qualify for a loan of up to $2 million at 4 percent interest. “These loans can be for building or structure, business equipment, furniture and fixtures, and inventory — anything that involves the day-to-day operation of the business,” McDonald said.
There is also an economic injury loan available to business owners, which helps pay vendors and employees due to business interruption, McDonald said.
She said it is “in the best interest of the business owner” to go into a recovery center and speak with an SBA customer service representative in person, or to apply online at www.sba.gov. The recovery center in Limestone County is on Ripley Road, west of Athens.
For more information about SBA loans, call 800-659-2955.
To register with FEMA, which is required before you can apply for a SBA loan, call 800-621-3362 or go online to www.fema.gov.