Hurricane Katrina has been a disaster of epic proportions - the affects on the residents and businesses in those areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana that were hit the hardest are virtually incomprehensible. As the nation teams up in rescue and recovery and, eventually, reconstruction efforts, the U.S. Small Business Administration will do everything possible to help homeowners, renters, and businesses get back on their feet.

The SBA is the source for long-term disaster recovery for homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace the primary residence. Loans of up to $40,000 are available to renters and homeowners to cover losses to personal property like clothing, appliances, and furniture. The interest rate is 2.68 percent with 30-year terms, and the loans are aimed at covering losses not fully covered by insurance.

Businesses of all sizes may apply for an SBA disaster loan of up to $1.5 million to cover damages to property, machinery, inventory, etc. Economic injury disaster loans of up to $1.5 million are available to small businesses only. The working capital loans may be used to pay bills or meet operating expenses. The interest rate on both of the SBA business disaster loans are 4 percent, with up to 30 year terms.

To qualify for any kind of federal assistance, residents and business owners in the disaster areas must first contact FEMA at 1.800.621.FEMA. For more information on SBA's disaster loan program visit our Web site at www.sba.gov/disaster.

Hector Barreto
Administrator
Small Business Administration
Washington, D.C.

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