SBA opens center for flood assistance

Published 12:04 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

NATCHEZ — Those who plan to apply for assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration can get one-on-one help filling out paperwork Monday-Friday at 201 South Wall St.

“We’re opening this (center) in conjunction with (the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency), kind of at the request of the state so that businesses in Adams County, as well as homeowners and renters that might need assistance from SBA, can come in and get one-on-one help,” SBA spokesman Matthew Young said.

Small businesses, homeowners and renters whose homes or businesses suffered physical damage or economic injury due to the flood may qualify for financial assistance, Young said.

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“The sooner they get (their applications) in, the sooner we can start the process of possibly getting them some money,” he said.

The center will operate from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. until June 10.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence, and homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including automobiles, according to an SBA news release.

“Individuals with home-based businesses or rental property and business owners of all sizes can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets,” the release states.

Young said the first step is registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency — SBA’s federal partner. By registering with FEMA, one is automatically in SBA’s system.

One can register by calling 1-800-621-3362, Young said.

“What’s going to be on the application is basic information — income, current debts, due to things like credit cards, mortgage or rent payments or other ongoing expenses,” Young said. “Other than that, (applicants) really don’t need to bring anything (to the center).

“If they have registered with FEMA, they could bring their FEMA (registration) number.”

No appointments are necessary, and Young said there will probably be two people working in the building.

Once an application is filled out, the next step involves meeting with an SBA representative to assess damage, Young said.

The deadline to apply for physical damage assistance is July 11, and the deadline to apply for assistance due to economic injury is Feb. 13, 2012.

“You can pick up an application at the center,” Young said. “That’s why we have staff there to help fill out the application and answer any questions.”

SBA customer service can also be reached at 1-800-659-2955.