EUSTIS — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, will close the disaster recovery center (DRC), located at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 2101 County Road 452 in Eustis, on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m.
A second DRC at the Lake County Sheriff's Office Astor Substation, located at 55420 Front St., will remain open to assist Lake County residents and businesses affected by Tropical Storm Fay. The DRC operates Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice. At the DRC, individuals who have already registered can have disaster recovery specialists check on their case, answer questions about their claim or request information FEMA needs to process their claim.
Lake County residents who suffered damage or loss as a result of Tropical Storm Fay can apply for individual assistance through FEMA by calling (800) 621-3362 or by logging on to www.fema.gov (The deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired may call TTY 800-462-7585 to apply). The toll-free telephone numbers operate 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily, until further notice. Residents are required to have the following information for the application process: a telephone number, Social Security number, current mailing address, address of damaged property, brief description of damages and insurance information (if the applicant has insurance).
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.
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.