MEMA reported 49 homes and 12 businesses were either destroyed or damaged as a result of the April 12 tornado in Noxubee County. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff
April 24, 2013 10:59:12 AM
The United States Small Business Administration granted a request from Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to offer disaster loans to residents and business owners in Noxubee County affected by an EF-3 tornado that severely damaged parts of Shuqualak April 12.
The SBA has also set up a temporary disaster loan outreach center at 16129 Miss. Highway 45 in Macon where those affected can meet with customer representatives to discuss loan programs and fill out applications.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported the storm caused four injuries in Noxubee County. Forty-nine homes and 12 businesses were either destroyed or damaged as a result of the storm, according to MEMA.
SBA Field Operations Center Director Frank Scaggs stated in a release that low-interest loans up to $200,000 will be available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged real estate and up to $40,000 for personal property.
Businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for loans up to $2 million to repair and replace real estate, equipment, inventory and machinery as well as other assets, SBA Mississippi district director Janita Stewart said.
SBA Communications Director Michael Lampton said the agency may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate to make improvements that lessen the risk of future property damage from weather-related disasters.
Lampton said interest rates for homeowners would be as low as 1.688 percent, while rates for non-profits and businesses could be as low as 2.875 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
"These loans also allow up to 30 years for people who qualify to pay back. This is situated to help homeowners and business owners and have money available to them to get them back where they were before the incident occurred," he said. "They just need to have the ability to repay and have reasonable credit. We'll run a credit report on a home or business owner and look at their previous years' tax returns to get an indication on their ability to repay the loan. We'll have staff on hand to answer questions from Mississippians and have many ways to get their questions answered. The process is fairly simple, and they just have to let us know they need the help."
Shuqualak Town Clerk Joy Marro said SBA had been one of many entities providing assistance with disaster relief.
"We've notified local businesses that they can go apply," Marro said. "It couldn't be anything but positive for the business owners and residents as long as they can meet the qualifications."
Bryant said the approval was instrumental in eventually restoring areas affected by the tornado to where they were before it came.
SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said the agency was dedicated to helping those in Shuqualak and others whose homes or businesses were affected.
"The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Mississippi with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans," Mills said in the release. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."
Bryant said he was pleased to have SBA in the county to assist those in need.
"Many families and businesses were impacted by these storms and tornadoes," Governor Phil Bryant said. "This will help residents, who qualify for assistance, rebuild and recover, and I thank Administrator Mills for making these resources available."
Representatives will be at the Macon location 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
Those who are unable to meet with SBA representatives in person can call 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The declaration also covers counties adjoining Noxubee, including Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Kemper and Winston.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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