SBA opens outreach center for Dec. 22 tornado
by Staff Report
Jan 04, 2012 | 1032 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia residents and businesses affected by a tornado on Dec. 22, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration in person at a Disaster Loan Outreach Center.

SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Nathan Deal on Dec. 28, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Floyd County and the adjacent counties of Bartow, Chattooga, Gordon, Polk and Walker in Georgia; and Cherokee County in Alabama.

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center opened Tuesday in Floyd County for individuals and businesses seeking assistance. The outreach center is located at the Floyd County Northwest Georgia Health District at1309 Redmond Road in Rome.

SBA's customer service representatives are on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, issue and help individuals complete their applications.

"Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.

"Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets," said Terri L. Denison, SBA's Georgia district director.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Interest rates are as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.

"Those who were affected by the tornado should apply for SBA disaster assistance as soon as possible," said Charley English, Director of Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Office of Homeland Security. "They do not need to wait for their insurance settlement."

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the Center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA's website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Feb. 27, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Sept. 29, 2012.

"The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Georgia with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans," Mills said. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."

The Floyd County Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open today through Friday, Jan. 4-6, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center will be closed Sunday, reopening Monday through Thursday, Jan. 9-12, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information about the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov .