We are approaching the two-month anniversary of the severe storms that brought EF2-rated tornadoes to portions of Houston and Nacogdoches Counties.  Areas around Crockett, Cushing and Lilbert were particularly hard hit.  The storms of March 21st damaged many homes and businesses, and a number of individuals are still looking for answers when it comes to what is financially available through disaster assistance.

Face to Face Assistance

Those affected by the tornados have been advised of websites and links that they can go to for information and assistance, however, sometimes it's less confusing and more reassuring to talk to someone face to face.  Those opportunities are now available for a couple of weeks.

Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West (SBA) has announced the opening of five Disaster Loan Outreach Centers.  Two of those centers will be located in Crockett and in Cushing.

In Crockett, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be housed at the Crockett Civic Center inside the Economic & Industrial Development Board Room, located at 1100 Edmiston Drive.  Beginning Friday, May 13, this outreach center will be open weekdays from 9 a.m until 6 p.m. through Thursday, May 26.

In Cushing, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at the Cushing Volunteer Fire Department located at 783 Walnut Avenue. Beginning Thursday, May 12, this outreach center will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. through Thursday, May 26.

What can the US Small Business Administration Offer?

SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the following centers to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their electronic loan application. The centers will be open on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

SBA disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.94 percent for businesses, 1.875 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.438 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

The deadline to apply for property damage is July 5, 2022. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Feb. 6, 2023.

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