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Small Business Administration Declares St. Croix a Disaster Area

Nov. 2, 2008 — Thanks to Hurricane Omar, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a disaster declaration for St. Croix.
This will enable St. Croix residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Omar to apply for SBA low-interest physical disaster loans and economic injury disaster loans.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the SBA "did an assessment and there was some need," said Jacqueline Heyliger, deputy director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday.
The SBA declaration, coupled with a disaster declaration by President Bush, will allow for timely assistance for those most impacted by Hurricane Omar, according to Gov. John deJongh Jr.
The deadline to apply for a physical disaster loan is Dec.15. Application deadline for the economic injury disaster loan is July 31, 2009.
The SBA offers loans of up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters also are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Mitigation loans are also being offered to disaster victims based on 20 percent of the verified physical damage. These funds are designed to help borrowers pay for protective measures to minimize damages of the same kind in the future.
Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
For small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA is offering economic injury disaster loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury disaster loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 2.875 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years, according to the SBA. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
On Wednesday SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Florence Williams Public Library at 1122 King Street in Christiansted. The Outreach Center will open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. The hearing impaired can call 1-800-877-8339. The Customer Service Center is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Individuals can also email the Customer Service Center.
Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX. 76155.
Victims may also apply for disaster loans from SBA's secure website.
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