— From staff reports
Victims of storms occurring between April 15 and May 31 now have until July 18 to apply for funding from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Residents who need help applying for assistance are welcome to attend two FEMA information workshops this week.
The first workshop will be held Thursday at the Tanner Nutrition Center at 13589 Lucas Ferry Road from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. The second will be held Friday at the LaCourt Event Center at the corner of McCulley Mill and Nick Davis roads from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
The workshops have been set up to target areas where few loan applications have been returned to the SBA.
FEMA spokeswoman Carol Hector-Harris said storm victims unable to attend either session should mail SBA loan applications to a processing center, though it needs to be postmarked on or before July 18 to qualify. The address is U.S./SBA Disaster Processing and Distribution Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX, 76155-2243.
Homeowners who apply to the SBA can receive loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace storm-related damages. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including vehicles.
Applying for a disaster loan may also open the door to FEMA other needs grants that do not need to be paid back.
SBA loans, with rates as low as 2.563 percent, are available in the 43 counties designated for FEMA individual assistance.
The SBA has issued 44,209 applications to Alabama storm victims, but only 4,712 have been returned. Of those, 1,185 applications have been approved. More than $67 million in low-interest loans has been approved with 291 loan applications pending.
FEMA registrations continue to rise since the announcement of the deadline extension, according to a press release. As of Monday, 85,369 survivors have registered with FEMA. In Limestone County, 2,629 storm victims applied for assistance and $1,606,050 has been approved for 358 eligible registrants.
Storm victims who received temporary housing assistance from FEMA and who continue to have a housing need must fill out an important form for additional short-term rental assistance.
Completing and returning the Declaration for Continuing Need for Rental Assistance form reaffirms that applicants have an ongoing need for temporary housing while they search for a permanent place to live, according to a press release.
The form is mailed 15 days after applicants receive their initial rental assistance grant. Applicants who need additional rental assistance must complete the form and mail it back to FEMA at the address printed on the form.
Storm victims who don’t have the form should contact FEMA’s toll-free helpline 800-621-FEMA (3362).