Walker County to receive SBA disaster assistance
by James Phillips
Apr 25, 2013 | 1255 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday Walker County has been approved for disaster assistance in the form of low-interest rate loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The approval is based on continued damage assessments from a line of severe storms that moved through Alabama on March 18.

“The March 18 storms caused a lot of damage in several communities, and this assistance from the SBA will help more people recover and rebuild,” Bentley said. “The SBA and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency are working closely with affected communities across the state. We will continue to connect people with all available resources.”

Walker County is the primary county listed in a new SBA disaster declaration approved Tuesday afternoon. The declaration also covers counties that are contiguous to Walker County. Those counties are Blount, Cullman, Fayette, Jefferson, Marion, Tuscaloosa and Winston.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Alabama with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

SBA’s customer service representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center, which will be located at the Jasper Police Department, to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process and issue and help individuals to complete their applications. The center will be inside JPD’s multi-purpose room and will open today at 8 a.m. The outreach center will remain open through May 1. On weekdays, the center’s hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday, the center will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Representatives will not be available on Sunday.

“It is important for families still recovering to know this new declaration reaches beyond county lines and includes the seven counties that are contiguous to Walker County,” Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner said.

Earlier in April, the SBA issued a similar disaster declaration covering DeKalb, Etowah and surrounding counties in Alabama and Georgia based on damages from the same line of storms. In Alabama, those surrounding counties are Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Jackson, Marshall and St. Clair.

In all counties covered by these SBA disaster declarations, homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations that qualify will have the following options from the SBA:

• Home Disaster Loans: Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc., damaged or destroyed in the storms. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.

• Business Physical Disaster Loans: Loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

• Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If a small business or private, nonprofit organization has suffered economic injury, regardless of physical damage, and is located in an SBA-declared disaster area, they may be eligible for financial assistance of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration.entatives will not be available on Sunday.

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Jasper center in person may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov. 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.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 24, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 23, 2014.