Santa Rosa County businesses and residents affected by Tropical Storm Claudette on June 19 may apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The disaster declaration was declared by the SBA on July 21. The declaration covers Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa counties in Florida; and Escambia, Tuscaloosa, Baldwin, Bibb, Conecuh, Covington, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Monroe, Pickens and Walker counties in Alabama. To assist businesses and residents affected by the disaster, the SBA has opened a virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC). Applicants can contact customer service representatives seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT by calling 800-659-2955 or by emailing FOCE-Help@sba.gov. Representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist applicants in completing their applications. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, and up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, and other business assets damaged or destroyed by the disasters. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are also offered by the SBA for small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations. EIDL Loan assistance is available to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster, and is provided regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.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 2.88 percent for businesses, 2 percent for nonprofit organizations and 1.625 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration #17050, not for the COVID-19 incident. Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications may be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. 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 Sept. 20, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 22, 2022.
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