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Deadline looms for FEMA assistance applications

Escambia county homeowners and renters have a small window of opportunity to apply for assistance from FEMA.

Those homeowners with uninsured damage and losses from Hurricane Sally have until Nov. 19 to apply for assistance. Hurricane Sally occurred Sept. 14-16 in the area with some homeowners experiencing losses that were not covered by insurance or were underpaid by insurers.

Although FEMA cannot make you whole, FEMA assistance may include grants for temporary housing and emergency home repairs to make your home safe, accessible and secure,” FEMa officials said in a recent announcement of the impending deadline. “If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, file your insurance claim immediately, before applying to FEMA. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, if you don’t have insurance or are underinsured, you may receive assistance for uninsured losses.”

Officials say that even if a homeowner applied with another agency or organization, registration with FEMA is necessary if access to federal disaster grants and the U.S. Small Business Administration long-term low-interest disaster loans are needed.

To register for assistance, homeowners may visit the FEMA assistance website at www.disasterassistance.gov. Online applications must be completed no later than midnight on Nov. 19. For those wishing to apply by phone, the number to call is 800-621-3362 with operators available 6 a.m. to midnight.

SBA provides help to survivors in the form of low-interest disaster loans. You may borrow up to $200,000 with a fixed interest rate as low as 1.188 percent to repair or replace your primary home to its pre-hurricane condition. The loan can be increased by 20 percent of the damages for mitigation measures, i.e., elevation, hurricane shutters, installation of a seawall or a safe room.

Homeowners and renters may also be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 with a fixed interest rate as low as 1.18 percent to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, furniture, appliances and cars.

SBA’s disaster loans are also available for businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations for physical losses. This includes rental properties. Small businesses and most nonprofits may be eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for working capital loans. The maximum loan amount is $2,000,000. Interest rates are as low as 3.75 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofits.

After you have registered with FEMA, you may be referred to SBA. You can apply for an SBA disaster loan online using the SBA’s https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.