STONE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - South Mississippi businesses and residents affected by flash flooding in May can now apply for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The disaster declaration was requested in a Nov. 18 letter from Gov. Phil Bryant for storms and flooding that occurred on or near May 8-9, 2019. The declaration covers Stone County and the adjacent counties of Forrest, George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and Perry.
SBA customer service representatives will be available for the next two weeks in Wiggins answering questions and helping people complete applications.
"Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets," said SBA's Mississippi District Director Janita R. Stewart.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
“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 Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
SBA workers will be available to help people from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the New Hope Road Shelter, located at 1084 New Hope Road in Wiggins. Beginning Dec. 4, they will be at that location Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The workers will remain through Dec. 17, which will close at 4 p.m.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
Businesses and individuals may also 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 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan applications can also be downloaded at 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.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Jan. 21, 2020. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Aug. 19, 2020.