NEW ORLEANS – Don’t let the word “business” in the name U.S. Small

Business Administration (SBA) fool you. If you are a homeowner or renter, the SBA is your primary source of federal funds for long-term recovery.

The SBA’s low-interest disaster loans of up to $200,000 can help qualified

homeowners repair or replace damaged real estate. In addition, renters and

homeowners may get up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property. In both cases, these SBA loans are only for damages not covered by your insurance.

After you register for federal assistance, you may receive a letter in the mail

with an SBA return address. Open it and complete the forms inside. It's a

critical step in the recovery process.

Through Wednesday, Sept. 23, SBA staff had mailed almost 195,000 applications to Louisiana residents already registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Only 4,110 residents have mailed them back. Whether or not you want a low-interest loan, if you do not return your SBA application, you may miss out on other assistance from FEMA.

You must return the SBA application and be turned down for a loan to be

considered for FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or

replacement, and moving and storage expenses. You do not need to repay these grants.

You do not need to return the application to be considered for eligibility for

temporary housing assistance, and grants for public transportation, medical,

dental or burial expenses.

Take your completed loan application to the nearest Disaster Recovery Center. The SBA representatives will send it overnight free of charge to SBA’s national processing center. If you need help filling it out, go to the Disaster Recovery Center and they will help you free of charge. You don’t need to make an appointment. Check with your local emergency manager to find the nearest location.

If you own a business, large or small, or are a non-profit, the SBA may help you with two types of direct disaster loans. If your business was in a designated parish and had hurricane damage, you can apply for a loan of up to $2 million to help replace damaged property or restore it to its pre-disaster condition.

Even if your business was not damaged physically but you suffered economically, you may qualify for an economic injury disaster loan to provide necessary working capital until you can resume normal operations. These loans can be used to help pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that you can't pay because of the disaster.

You can get great business-recovery tips at one of several Business Counseling Centers. Representatives from the SBA and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) staff these centers where business owners can access a variety of specialized help. They can help you apply for SBA disaster loans, answer questions about the loan process and explain how SBA disaster loans can help finance your recovery. Additionally, LSBDC consultants also can assist with cash flow projections, evaluating business economic injury and determining other sources of financial assistance. Centers are open in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Belle Chasse, Carencro, Lake Charles, Metairie and Thibodaux.

For more information on Business Counseling Center locations, go online to or contact SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling toll-free 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-877-8339) or visit You also may apply for an SBA loan online at

Remember, the first step toward obtaining recovery assistance is to register

with FEMA. Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 or register online at

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The Teche Today

P.O. Box 69
St. Martinville, LA 70582
Phone: 337-394-6232
Fax: 337-394-7511

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