10/11/11 — Deadline coming to qualify for loans for disaster repairs

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Deadline coming to qualify for loans for disaster repairs

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 11, 2011 1:46 PM

The end of October is the deadline for filing applications for physical damage assistance from the Small Business Administration.

Many homeowners and renters are eligible for help from the SBA, but are unaware of it, said R. Gary Colton, a public information officer for the federal agency.

Residents of Wayne, Lenoir, Duplin, Greene, Wilson and Johnston counties are eligible. But applications have to be in by the end of the month in order to be considered, he emphasized this week.

Many people do not like the idea of borrowing money, but Colton said they should apply anyway, just to be on the safe side. Funds could be available that they would not otherwise be aware of, he said.

"You just need to apply and let us make those decisions," he said.

Loans are available at interest rates as low as 2.5 percent for home loans and 4 percent for businesses. Businesses of any size are eligible for up to $2 million in loans, with smaller ones also eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which can help a business which might not have suffered physical damage but has seen a decrease in business activity because of the storm and its aftermath. The deadline for applying for economic injury loans is May 31, 2012.

Non-profit organizations are eligible for loans at 3 percent interest.

Rates are partly determined by whether the applicant has credit elsewhere.

Home Disaster Loans are loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damage real estate or personal property owned by the victim. Renters are eligible for their personal property losses, including vehicles.

Business Physical Disaster Loans are available to businesses to repair or replace disaster damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery and equipment. Private, nonprofit organizations such as churches, charities and private universities also are eligible.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide working capital to help small businesses meet their financial obligations while recovering. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Requirements include a credit history acceptable to the SBA, the ability to repay the loan and collateral. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires applicants to pledge what they have available.

Federal law authorizes loan terms up to 30 years. However, the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum of three years. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower's ability to repay.

The SBA limits home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40 to repair or replace personal property. Business loans are limited to $2,000,000.

For more information, call 1-800-659-2955 or visit the SBA's website www.sba.gov.

Applicants can also apply online using the electronic loan application via SBA's secure website at http://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

The deadline for applications for loans or grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is also Oct. 31.

For information, call 1- 800-621-FEMA from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. People may also learn how to apply by visiting the agency's website, DisasterAssistance.gov.