EUSTIS — In addition to residents that were affected by Tropical Storm Fay, the Lake County Emergency Management Division wants to remind business owners that the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) disaster recovery center (DRC), which opened Friday in Eustis, also offers assistance to businesses.
FEMA, in conjunction with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, opened the DRC from 12 to 6 p.m. today at the Lake County Fairgrounds, located at 2101 County Road 452 in Eustis. Beginning Saturday, Sept. 20, the DRC will operate daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice. The DRC is located in the Fairgrounds’ Ashford Building. The DRC is staffed with disaster recovery specialists, as well as representatives from other agencies that may be able to assist business owners.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, individuals must first call FEMA at (800) 621-3362.
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. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage in the future. For small businesses, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers 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.
Disaster loans are also available up to $200,000 for homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Interest rates are as low as 2.875 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the DRC in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or by e-mailing the customer service center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. 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. Survivors may also apply online for disaster loans from SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Oct. 27, 2008. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 26, 2009.