Special to the Opelika Observer
The U.S. Small Business Administration opened a business recovery center in Lee County last week to help businesses in Alabama affected by the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the area Marc 3.
SBA representatives can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions
and assist businesses in completing the application.
Following is details on the center’s location and operating hours:
Southern Union State Community College
Technical Building 7, classroom 5 on the first floor
301 Lake Condy Road
Opelika, AL 36801
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on weekends.
The disaster declaration covers Lee County in Alabama which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury: Chambers, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa in Alabama, and Harris and Muscogee of Georgia.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.
Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, 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.
“The SBA is committed to facilitating economic recovery in this disaster. We want area businesses to have a resource where they can meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan can help them recover,” said SBA’s director of field operations Kem Fleming.
Interest rates are as low as four percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is May 6 with and the deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 5.