The deadline for victims of the Dec. 10-11 tornadoes to apply for federal aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or Small Business Administration (SBA) is Friday.
Those living in the in Barren, Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor or Warren counties are eligible for FEMA grants and low-interest disaster loans through SBA.
The best way to apply for those benefits is with the help of FEMA and SBA representatives at a Disaster Recovery Center, by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
Disaster Recovery Centers, or DRCs, are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday at the Graves County Public Library at 601 N. 17th St. in Mayfield and the Butler Building gymnasium at 600 W. Main St. in Princeton.
There are also two DRCs in Hopkins County and one in Warren County.
Representatives from FEMA and the SBA can be found at the DRCs.
FEMA has three types of assistance for storm victims:
• Rental assistance for those displaced from their primary residence for up to two months of rent to be reassessed every two months.
• Emergency home repair, including roof or structural damage, as well as repair to other home needs, including hot water heater or HVAC system.
• Replacement of some personal property, which includes essential furniture, such as beds or a dining room table.
“We definitely want to encourage everyone that they do not want to delay their ability to recover and rebuild,” said FEMA media relations specialist La-Tenga Hopes. “It never fails that after the deadline, we have people who end up seeking support from FEMA, so we would just encourage people to not delay.”
Renters living in Caldwell, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg and Warren counties should assess their renter status and find out about the 20% increase in renters’ benefits.
The FEMA mitigation team at the Home Depot at 2801 James Sanders Blvd. in Paducah can help those who have already applied for assistance with ways to strengthen their properties against future storms.
“We also have crisis counseling and the ability to provide legal counseling,” Hopes said. “Now, this is only counseling; we do not provide people with a lawyer. These are people who can provide you with legal support and advice.
“If people have not gone through a disaster before and are not sure how their insurance is working, they may be able to give advice or direction.”
Hopes said that area farmers or those working in agricultural production may not need to apply to FEMA to get benefits regarding storm damage.
“There are benefits available,” she said. “They can go to farmers.gov, click on the ‘Working With Us’ tab, then click on ‘USDA Service Centers’ and ‘Find Your Local Service Center’ to find resources that are available.”
The Small Business Administration can help homeowners as well as business owners with low-interest loans.
Loans can be made with terms of up to 30 years. Interest rates for homeowners and renters are as low as 1.438%, while nonprofits can get as low as 1.876%, and businesses can have interest rates as low as 2.83%.
Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to repair and replace property in the home as well as vehicles. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million to repair damage to property and real estate.
SBA public affairs specialist Sally Graham said the application filing deadlines for SBA loans are Thursday for physical damage loans and Sept. 12 for economic injury loans.
“If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage,” she said. “Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc.
“SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien when the applicant (1) does not have credit available elsewhere, (2) has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40% or more of the value of the property or 50% or more of the value of the structure) and (3) intends to repair the damage.”
For more information about SBA loans, visit disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s or call 1-800-877-8339.
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