By PAUL SIMS
Area residents have just a few more weekdays to apply in-person for loans available in the wake of last month’s storms.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency representatives are staffing the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Starkville today, Monday and Tuesday.
People whose homes, private non-profit organizations and businesses sustained damage in the storms which struck Oktibbeha County and Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Webster and Winston counties Nov. 29-30 are eligible to apply.
SBA disaster loan rates will be as low as 2.25 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for nonprofits and 4 percent for businesses. Residents and business representatives do not need to wait until an insurance claim is settled to apply for the loans.
The loans are available for up to $200,000 to repair primary residences damaged in the storm and up to $40,000 to replace or repair damaged personal property, including clothing and furniture.
Personnel with any-size business and private non-profit groups may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed machinery, equipment, inventory, real estate and related assets.
“This is extremely helpful to help folks get back on their feet. This is the only program that’s going to be available for people following these storms,” said Greg Flynn, MEMA public information officer.
Flynn says a number of people have called and said they have been denied – “they didn’t earn enough money and we really ask them to reach out to their cities to find out what might be out there” such groups as charities and non-profit organizations.
He said the “federal government steps in when they believe it is beyond the city or area’s capabilities to recover on their own and we just didn’t meet the criteria. We understand that one family’s loss of a home is devastating to them. We just didn’t have enough widespread damage to qualify for a major disaster declaration. We definitely encourage everybody to at least apply.”
The Starkville center is located at Courthouse Annex Building, Courtroom B, at 108 W. Main St. It is open today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed for the weekend. It will reopen Monday and Tuesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Homeowners need to bring identification; social security numbers; mortgage or lease and any insurance information along with financial details such as income, monthly payments and bank statements, Flynn said.
Business owners should bring identification; social security and employer identification numbers; business license, any insurance and available financial information, he said.
People will be able to apply over the phone 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (800) 659-2955 or (800) 877-8339 for the hearing impaired, or by visiting SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov/ .
Applicants have until Feb. 7 to submit loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center at 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.