The deadline is Jan. 11 for homeowners, renters and businesses to file physical disaster loan applications for damages related to Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced in a reminder today.

To date, the SBA has approved more than 7,000 loans totaling over $514 million to Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of long-term recovery assistance after a major disaster is declared, the agency announced.

“Individuals and businesses that were affected by Hurricane Katrina are urged to visit one of the Disaster Recovery Centers set up throughout the area. Our staff will be glad to answer any questions about the disaster loan program, give you an application, and provide any extra help you may need or want in completing your application,” said Frank Skaggs, Director of SBA Field Operations Center – East.

SBA offers loans 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, clothing and appliances. Loans to businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations are available up to $1.5 million to repair damage to real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are also available to small businesses unable to pay bills or meet operating expenses because of the disaster, according to the announcement.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.687 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.

The SBA announcement states that in order to be considered for federal disaster assistance, including SBA disaster loans, victims must first call the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency at (800) 621-FEMA (3362) to register.

Program information is available by calling the SBA’s National Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or (800) 877-8339 for the hearing impaired. Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website at http://www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be taken to any of the Disaster Recovery Centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, National Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth, TX. 76155.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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