Thursday, October 20, 2005

FEMA And SBA Urge Disaster Victims To File Disaster Loan Applications

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Residents of Louisiana who have been impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita and need financial assistance should be sure to complete a loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Homeowners and renters who receive an SBA loan application after they register for disaster assistance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should complete the home disaster loan application and return it as soon as possible, even if they are not interested in accepting a loan. People who apply and do not qualify may be referred to other programs, but they must complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for certain other grants and programs .

"If a homeowner or renter doesn't return their SBA application, they will have inadvertently stopped some parts of the assistance process," said SBA Public Information Officer Ken Shuman. "We won't be able to approve a loan or make a referral if they don't submit their applications."

It is important for private citizens to know disaster loans from the SBA are not just for businesses. Homeowners may also qualify for low-interest loans to help rebuild or repair their homes and personal property. Renters may qualify for loans to repair or replace personal property. In fact, the majority of SBA loans are made to homeowners and renters.

FEMA has been urging residents to complete and submit an SBA loan application. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and certain private non-profit organizations that suffered losses due to the disasters.

SBA loan amounts are based on the actual cost of repairing or rebuilding a damaged home and personal property, minus any insurance reimbursements for the same loss. However, disaster victims do not have to wait for their insurance settlement before applying for an SBA loan.

FEMA AND SBA URGES DISASTER VICTIMS TO FILE DISASTER LOANS 2-2-2

For more information about how to complete the loan application, or for more information on SBA assistance, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955, log on to www.sba.gov/disaster or visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

For information on how to apply for assistance through FEMA call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) , or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people who are speech- or hearing-impaired. Lines are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Hurricane victims may also register online at www.fema.gov , or they can get assistance in registering at any DRC.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

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