Thursday, September 09, 2004

Governor Asks SBA To Expedite Hurricane Loans

TALLAHASSEE - Governor Jeb Bush today urged Florida's business owners
directly impacted by Hurricane Frances to apply for emergency assistance
under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster assistance loan
program. Governor Bush is also asking the SBA to expedite approval of
eligible loan applications so business owners can utilize funding from the
program as soon as possible.

"I thank Administrator Barreto and the SBA for their quick and
aggressive response to the needs of Florida's victims of Hurricane Charley
and now Frances," said Governor Bush. "The SBA has been and will continue
to be a solid partner with Florida in our efforts to rehabilitate
communities and revitalize businesses in the wake of these storms. The
example set by our federal government in swiftly assisting Floridians in
this critical time is deeply appreciated."


The SBA Disaster Assistance Loan Program was created to help people recover
from catastrophe through affordable, timely, and accessible financial
assistance programs. The SBA offers physical disaster assistance loans up to
$1.5 million to businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations to
repair damage to real estate, machinery, equipment, and inventory caused by
Hurricane Charley. The SBA also offers economic injury disaster loans to
provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume after a
disaster. The combined loan limit for both physical damage and economic
injury loan assistance is $1.5 million. SBA business loans are provided at
low interest rates (2.9 percent) and repayment terms up to 30 years.


SBA loans up to $200,000 are also available to homeowners to repair or
restore their primary home to its pre-disaster condition. Homeowners and
renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to replace personal property
such as furniture and clothing. Interest rates can be as low as 3.187
percent with terms up to 30 years.

"Just two weeks ago, Governor Bush and I toured some of the areas of Florida
hardest hit by Hurricane Charley. Together, we distributed almost
$1,000,000 in SBA disaster relief checks for those homeowners and small
businesses suffering losses from that storm," said SBA Administrator Hector
V. Barreto. "In a matter of days, the SBA Disaster Team had begun to
approve and make those loans. Now, the good citizens of Florida are faced
with even greater challenges from the added devastation of Frances. The SBA
looks forward to working with our partners at FEMA and the State of Florida
to meet these challenges. As the President promised, we will stay as long
as it takes to restore Florida and its citizens back to relative normalcy."


Counties directly affected by Hurricane Frances and declared disaster areas
by FEMA are eligible to participate in the SBA program. Also eligible for
disaster loans are victims of Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie.
From Charley's landfall in Florida to present date, the SBA has approved
$27.2 million in disaster assistance loans (business and housing).

To apply for SBA disaster assistance loans please call FEMA at (800)
621-FEMA (3362). To learn more about the SBA disaster assistance loan
program visit www.sba.gov/disaster.


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