SBA staffers assist Hurricane Ida victims in applying for disaster loans

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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A SBA staffer helps Hurricane Ida victims at a local recovery center.
A SBA staffer helps Hurricane Ida victims at a local recovery center.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For some people insurance will not cover all the damage caused by Hurricane Ida and others may not have insurance at all, and still, others may not qualify for FEMA grants. So, the Small Business Administration is on the ground in southeast Louisiana helping to fill the gap.

Jo Ann Lawrence is Deputy District Director for the SBA’s Louisiana District Office.

“Our Hurricane Ida declaration is designed to help businesses of all sizes, homeowners, renters, private non-profits like charities and churches and some cooperatives are eligible for assistance,” said Lawrence.

She said renters can also apply for loans. “Renters please apply, renters would be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace their personal property. Homeowners up to 200,000 to repair their personal residence,” said Lawrence.

Loan limits are even higher for businesses.

“Two million for physical damage and $2 million for economic injury. However, the total to businesses between physical damage and economic injury cannot exceed $2 million,” said Lawrence.

She said the SBA does look at applicants’ overall credit history.

“We do get a lot of questions about credit; will SBA consider our credit? We will pull your credit report but we’re looking at your overall credit history. Additionally, if you previously had an SBA loan and you were required to maintain insurance and you did not maintain that insurance then, unfortunately, we would not be able to assist you,” said Lawrence. “You must be current on your federal obligations like your federal income taxes and cannot have defaulted on any other federally, guaranteed loans like student loans.”

People who get loans will have decades to pay them off.

“Thirty years, fixed-rate; for homeowners and renters 1.563%, very low-interest rate. For businesses, 2.855% fixed rate for 30 years. For the private non-profits, charities, and churches 2% for 30 years. That’s a long time for a low-interest rate,” said Lawrence.

And she said it is critical that everyone in disaster-declared areas applies to SBA just in case they do not qualify for FEMA grants. “If you’re sitting back and waiting and saying, I know I’m not going to get approved by SBA, so I’m just not going to apply; in order to get back to FEMA you have to be turned down by SBA,” said Lawrence.

The deadline for getting applications in for property damage is approaching.

“Critical deadline for physical damage, October 28, 2021, you must submit that application by October 28, 2021, but don’t wait for that date to apply,” said Lawrence. “For economic injury, they have until May 31, 2022.”

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