By WLOX Staff
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Small Business Administration is offering assistance to residents and businesses affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred March 25-28, 2009.
Residents in Jackson, George, Harrison and Stone counties can apply for low-interest disaster loans. Residents in Mobile County, Alabama are also qualified.
"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 Disaster Field Operations Center in Atlanta.
SBA's customer service representatives will be on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the SBA's disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals complete their applications.
The Center will be located in the following community and will open as indicated:
Jackson County Jackson County Fairgrounds - Ticket Office (Northwest corner of Fairgrounds)
2902 Shortcut Road Pascagoula, MS 39567
Opening: Tuesday, April 21, at 9 a.m.
Hours: Tuesday, April 21 - Friday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 from 8 a.m. to 12 (noon)
Sunday, April 26, Closed
Monday, April 27 - Thursday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closing: Thursday, April 30, at the close of business
Janita Stewart, SBA's Mississippi District Director, added, "Low-interest Federal disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes whose property was damaged or destroyed by the severe storms and flooding."
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.
The SBA also provides mitigation funds to disaster victims based on 20 percent of the verified physical damage. These funds are designed to help borrowers pay for protective measures to minimize damages of the same kind in the future.
For small businesses, and most private, non-profit 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 2.187 percent for homeowners and renters, 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.
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 hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
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
Victims may apply for disaster loans from SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 15, 2009. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 19, 2010.
SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills made the loans available in response to a request from Governor Haley Barbour on April 7, for a disaster declaration by the SBA.