Tennessee businesses and residents affected by severe storms and flooding that occurred on Feb. 6 through Feb. 24, 2019 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Acting Administrator Christopher Pilkerton announced earlier this week.

    Acting Administrator Pilkerton made the loans available in response to a letter from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on June 14, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers the following counties: Decatur, Hardin, Humphreys, Perry and Sevier and the adjacent counties of Benton, Blount, Carroll, Chester, Cocke, Dickson, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Jefferson, Knox, Lewis, McNairy and Wayne counties in Tennessee; Lauderdale in Alabama; Alcorn and Tishomingo in Mississippi; and Haywood and Swain in North Carolina. 

    “The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Tennessee with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Pilkerton. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

   “Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA’s Tennessee District Director LaTanya D. Channel.

    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.

   “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 Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.  

    Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount 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.

    Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount 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 SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

    Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

    The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Aug. 20, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 23, 2020. 

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