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SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Florida Residents Affected by Freezing Temperatures and Sinkholes
WASHINGTON – Residents and businesses affected by freezing temperatures and sinkholes between Jan. 2 and Feb. 1 in Hillsborough County, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills announced today.
Mills made the loans available in response to a letter from Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on May 19, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Hillsborough County and the adjacent counties of Hardee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk in Florida.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Florida 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 at SBA.”
“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. 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:
Plant City Visitors Center
1702 N. Park Road
Plant City, FL 33563
Open: Wednesday, June 2 – Friday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed: Sunday, June 6
Open: Monday, June 7 – Wednesday, June 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closes: Wednesday, June 9 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 Francisco Marrero, SBA’s South Florida district director.
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.
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, 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.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Center in person may obtain information loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT or by sending an e-mail 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.
Survivors 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 July 26, 2010. The deadline to return economic injury applications is February 25, 2011.
For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Programs, visit our website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.