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SBA Recovery Operation Opens for Business

Nov. 5, 2008 — They started lining up before the door of the Florence Williams Library in Christiansted opened. By 9 a.m., there were six people ready to go upstairs and apply for help from the Small Business Administration's Disaster Loan Outreach Center in recovering from Hurricane Omar.
"It was pretty steady all day," said John Ayala, an SBA representative.
The three staffers were kept busy walking applicants through the loan process, helping them with the paperwork and explaining what kinds of help are available.
The agency has low-interest loans for both businesses and individuals, Ayala said.
Businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible, as are private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches and private universities.
SBA can also provide working capital loans, called economic injury disaster loans, to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster-recovery period.
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, including autos. 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, with 4-percent interest rates on loans up to 30 years.
Homeowners and renters can borrow to replace property damaged in the October storm, Ayala said. Homeowners can borrow as much as $200,000 to replace or repair real property at a rate as low as 2.875 percent.
Renters who lost personal property can borrow as much as $40,0000 at the low interest rate.
The deadline for applying for the loans is Dec. 30. Residents can apply in person or go to the agency's website.
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