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FEMA urges return of loan applications

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Ryan Dostalek
August 2, 2008
— A message from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration: Return completed disaster loan applications if you received one.

Greg Dawson, communications specialist for the Small Business Administration, said residents who are issued a loan application for home, business or economic injury need to return the paperwork to receive federal disaster aid.


Even if residents or businesses don’t qualify for an SBA loan, having a completed application on file means the SBA would refer the resident or business to FEMA for additional grants.


“The issue is not who have been turned away,” Dawson said. “The issue is people not returning the applications.”


The SBA issued 22,238 home disaster loan applications across the state. Of those, only 3,110 were returned to the SBA for consideration.


In Rock County, a total of $871,800 in federal aid has been issued from the SBA for the June flooding:


-- 29 home disaster loans totaling $842,600 for homeowners.


-- Two economic injury payments to businesses totaling $29,200.


If residents don’t return their SBA loan applications, they automatically drop themselves out of the running for federal relief funds.


Residents have some time left, though, if they haven’t returned their application to the SBA. Because the floodwaters were so slow to recede, FEMA extended by one month the disaster loan application deadline for home and business damage loans.


Residents requesting federal assistance for physical damage now need to have their applications returned by Monday, Sept. 15. Those seeking aid for economic injury have until March 13, 2009, the same deadline as originally set.


“The whole idea is to give everyone the opportunity to get money who needs it,” Dawson said.


It’s hard to determine why people don’t return their loan applications, he said. The SBA spent the month going door-to-door to make sure residents returned the forms and were aware of the consequences if they didn’t.


A common misconception is that some people believe homes are excluded from SBA aid because of the word “business” in the organization’s name, Dawson said, which might be why homeowners or renters don’t return the loan applications.


“If you’ve received a SBA application, that opens the door for other opportunities,” he said. “Don’t cut your options off by not doing the paperwork.”


FEDERAL DOLLARS

So far in Rock County, the Small Business Administration has provided the following flood disaster relief:


For homes: 29 loan applications approved for at total of $842,600.
For business: 0
For economic injury: Two applications approved for a total of $29,200.
Total: 31 applications approved for a total of $871,800.

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