SBA disaster assistance available; local outreach center opens today

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Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Louisiana businesses and residents affected by the Red River flooding that occurred May 18-June 20, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced today.

SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following the denial of the state’s request for a major disaster declaration.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Bossier, Caddo, De Soto and Red River parishes in Louisiana; Lafayette and Miller counties in Arkansas; Cass, Harrison, Marion and Panola counties in Texas.

Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will be open to assist residents with the application process beginning Thursday (July 30) at 12 noon. The local outreach center is located at the Jewella Whitehouse Financial and Business Empowerment Center, 2230 Jewella Avenue in Shreveport.

SBA representatives will be on to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, the application process and help each individual complete their application. The center will be open on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary.

Residents are urged to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for assistance as quickly as possible. Outreach centers will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. until the close of the business day Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, 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 property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by 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 https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is September 28, 2015. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 29, 2016.