Marion County residents and property owners hit by the April 19 tornado have until July 20 to submit applications for federal aid.
But the U.S. Small Business Administration encourages businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters to go ahead and get that done as soon as possible.
The twister struck Sandy Hook, Hub and Pine Burr, killed one person and damaged at least 120 homes, destroying 20. The Southwest Marion Volunteer Fire Department station on Hurricane Creek Road was also leveled, and some 40,000 yards of debris was piled on the county's rights-of-way after the storm did an estimated $1.4 million in timber damage.
A federal disaster declaration covers Marion County and the adjacent counties of Jeff Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Pearl River and Walthall in Mississippi; and Washington Parish in Louisiana.
The SBA said it is conducting outreach virtually because of the coronavirus with webinars, Skype calls, phone assistance and application assistance. Survivors can apply online at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov, and there are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application.
Residents can also email FOCE-Help@sba.gov or call (404) 331-0333 and use extensions 2122 and 2106 for residents and extension 2123 for businesses.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets, according to SBA. 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.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.
Interest rates are as low as 3.75% for businesses, 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations and 1.563% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s circumstances.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan 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.