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SBA offering loans to Alabamians, businesses impacted by January tornado

Filing deadlines are June 1 for property damage loans and Jan. 3, 2022, for economic injury loans.

Governor Kay Ivey held a press conference with EMA and other officials and then toured the damage from a Tornado in Jefferson county Wednesday, January 27, 2021 in Fultondale, Ala.. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Alabama businesses and residents impacted by the January 25-26 tornado can apply for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the agency announced Monday. 

The EF-3 tornado killed one person and injured at least 30 as it made its way through the Birmingham suburbs of Fultondale and Center Point. 

Gov. Kay Ivey in a March 30 letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman asked for a disaster declaration, which was issued and covers Jefferson, Bibb, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties, according to an SBA press release. 

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

The SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7 at the Fultondale Public Library, located at 500 Byrd Lane, where customer service representatives will be able to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help complete their applications. Visitors to the center are encouraged to wear face masks. 

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 1. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Jan. 3, 2022.

“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 Alabama District Director Tom Todt in a statement. 

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Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, and are 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, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may also be eligible for a loan increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages. A safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage are all eligible mitigation improvements. 

Interest rates are as low as 3 percent for businesses, 2 percent for nonprofit organizations and 1.125 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 via SBA’s secure website at 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 [email protected].

Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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