disaster,” says Carol Chastang, a spokesperson for the SBA. “The physical damage disaster loan can be used to repair real estate or personal property that’s not fully covered by insurance, including clothes, furniture, appliances, and in the case of businesses, machinery and inventory.”
As of Aug. 11, the interest rate on the SBA’s disaster relief loans for homeowners and renters was 2.875%. The interest rate for business owners was 4% for up to a 30-year term. Businesses of any size can borrow up to $2 million on a SBA disaster recovery loan.
Chastang urges applicants to contact FEMA first so that potential applicants don’t miss out on other forms of aid, including state and federal. Potential borrowers will be referred to the SBA if necessary. If the SBA determines that an applicant cannot afford a loan, FEMA will provide “Other Needs Assistance” in the form of funding for repairing or replacing personal property such as household items and clothes. ONA also covers transportation and medical expenses among other needs.
Documentation is key. FEMA requires individuals to provide paperwork in order to evaluate eligibility. This means proof of occupancy, ownership, income, and loss. But with the chaos that can occur in the wake of a natural disaster, FEMA and the SBA will work with victims to ensure they receive the help they need.
“We have means to work with the IRS and some local agencies to secure records,” Chastang says.
Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, urged attendees of the Republican National Convention and others to visit CauseGreater.com to donate to hurricane relief efforts. You can also text 2HELP, using the keyword GIVE, to donate using your cell phone. Sen. Barack Obama has urged supporters to donate $5 by texting GIVE to 24357, and to donate time and money to the relief effort.