Friday, Dec. 24


SBA disaster relief in aftermath of summer hurricanes tops $1 billion

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[DEC. 24, 2004]  WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $1 billion in low-interest disaster loans to about 33,600 residents and business owners in the areas affected by the late-summer rash of deadly hurricanes and floods.

More than 1 million disaster loan applications have been issued to residents and business owners in the 14 states and Puerto Rico that suffered losses after four major hurricanes struck the region, beginning Aug. 13 with Hurricane Charley. With application deadlines extended to Jan. 3 for residents and business owners in Florida and Alabama, the final loan-making total will surpass the $1 billion in disaster loans approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The largest disaster ever handled by the agency was the 1994 Northridge, Calif., earthquake, when the Small Business Administration approved more than 124,000 disaster loans, for a total of $4 billion.

"I'm proud of the work the SBA has done and the assistance we've provided to those affected by last summer's hurricanes," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto. "The public can be assured that we will continue to maintain our presence in the disaster areas, providing the financing to help individuals and small business owners get back on their feet and rebuild their lives."

The Small Business Administration makes low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture and clothing. Loans of up to $1.5 million are available to eligible businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations to repair damage to real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $1.5 million are also available to small businesses unable to pay bills or meet operating expenses.

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Interest rates can be as low as 3.187 percent for homeowners and renters and 2.9 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the Small Business Administration and are based upon each applicant's financial condition.

To be considered for all forms of federal recovery assistance, disaster victims must first call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1 (800) 621-FEMA [3362].

For more information about the Small Business Administration's disaster assistance program, visit

[News release from the U.S. Small Business Administration]

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