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Disaster Press Releases

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Pennsylvania Residents affected by the Bellefonte Borough Fire

WASHINGTON – Residents and businesses affected by the Bellefonte Borough fire that occurred on Dec. 22 in Centre County, Pa., can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills announced today.

Administrator Mills made the loans available after receiving a letter dated Dec. 30 from Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, requesting an SBA disaster declaration. The declaration covers Centre County and the adjacent counties of Blair, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Mifflin and Union.

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

“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 Director Frank Skaggs 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 answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, issue and help individuals complete their applications.

The Center will be located in the following community and will open as indicated:

Centre County

Willowbank County Office Building
420 Holmes Street
Bellefonte, PA 16823
Opens: Tuesday, January 12, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Open: Wednesday, January 13, 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday, January 14, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Closing: Thursday, January 14 at the close of business

“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 Carl Knoblock, SBA’s Pittsburgh district director.

The SBA also provides mitigation funds to disaster victims up to 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 2.562 percent for homeowners and renters, 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for non-profit organizations 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 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA Web site 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.

Pennsylvania residents affected by the fire may apply for disaster loans from SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is March 8, 2010. The deadline to return economic injury applications is October 7, 2010.

Release Number: 
10-180, PA 12002/12003
Release Date: 
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Contact: 
Michael Lampton 404-331-0333
Related State: 
Pennsylvania
Field Operations Center: 
East