SBA doles out $1.1 billion in loans for hurricane damage in state


Published: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 11:02 p.m.
Florida homeowners, renters and business owners whose property was damaged by the hurricanes last summer have received nearly $1.1 billion in loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to date, as the Feb. 28 deadline for loan applications approaches.
Alachua County's share of the loan total is $3,090,600, of which $2,103,500 was for 114 homes (including rentals), and $987,100 went to businesses, according to information released Thursday by the SBA.
The statewide total represents loans approved for more than 36,000 homeowners, renters and business owners.
The SBA is urging property owners who plan to seek a disaster loan to not wait for their insurance settlement before registering with the Federal Emergency Management Association - (800) 621-3362 - and applying for aid.
"They have to register first. FEMA will send out an SBA loan package, and it's very urgent that they return loan applications," SBA spokesman Ron Veltkamp said. "If they qualify for a loan, they will get the money to repair the damage.
"But some people don't have the capability of making a loan payment, so FEMA will determine what kind of grant assistance is available. But if they don't fill out the application, the process comes to a grinding halt."
Although the SBA application deadline has been extended twice, no one knows if it will be extended again, Veltkamp said.
Qualified applicants may borrow as much as $200,000 for residential real estate damage and $40,000 for damage to personal property, Veltkamp said. Businesses may borrow as much as $1.5 million to repair physical damage, and they also may qualify for additional loan assistance for economic injury, he said.
"We can go ahead and make a loan to people who qualify, without regard to the insurance settlement," Veltkamp said. "They would assign those insurance proceeds to us so that when the insurance does settle, it will come to us and will be applied to the loan."
More information about SBA disaster loans is available at the Web site www.sba.gov/disaster.

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