SBA Offers Assistance To Residents Affected By Sandy - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

SBA Offers Assistance To Residents Affected By Sandy

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CRISFIELD, Md. - It's been over a month since Superstorm Sandy hit the shore, and residents and business owners in Crisfield have taken a hard hit. Victims in Maryland were recently denied individual assistance from FEMA, and while legislators try to change minds in Washington, one local agency offers another way for residents to get money for repairs.

Patricia Green is just one of many - a resident and business owner, beyond desperate, appearing to have lost all hope. "Nobody knows what to do. They know they don't have the money. They know that it's not coming in," she said.

But the Small Business Administration has an option that may help some get back on their feet. "Residents of Worcester, Somerset and Accomack Counties are now eligible for federal aid in the form of a low interest loan," Public Affairs Specialist for SBA John Oliver Frederick said.

But many are reluctant to apply. "With the loans, there are so many requirements as far as insurance and having to pay it back. They're afraid of the loans because they're already down to nothing," Green said.

But the SBA says it doesn't hurt to try. "I encourage everybody to apply. Don't try to self diagnose or self qualify yourself or disqualify yourself from a loan. It doesn't take a lot to fill out an application. It costs them nothing, there's no closing cost or no points or anything. All it takes is a little bit of time," Frederick said.

But what many are hoping for is federal assistance in the form of a grant. "We're a small fish. We're a little tiny county, a little tiny city - very poor community," Green said.

Maryland State Senator Jim Mathias is begging residents to hold on and trust that officials are doing everything they can to help. "If we can't do it with government public funds, hopefully we can do it with private funds and their philanthropy. I'm hoping we can get rid of that fear and get rid of that anger and we can replace it with hope," he said.

This loan program is for all homeowners, non-profits and businesses in Somerset and Worcester counties in Maryland, and Accomack county in Virginia. "Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.  "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," said Jayne Armstrong, SBA's Virginia district director. Interest rates are as low as 1.688% for homeowners and renters, 3% for non-profit organizations and 4% for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicants financial condition.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is February 5, 2013. Economic injury applications are due September 9, 2013.

For more information and to apply online, go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. You can also call SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email them at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  SBA customer service representatives are also available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Eastern Shore Regional Fire Training Center in Accomack County. They are open Monday - Saturday from 10 AM - 7 PM until December 20.

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