SBA offers disaster assistance to affected Tennessee residents, businesses

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) – Residents and businesses of Tennessee affected by wind, severe weather and wildfires from March 30…

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) – Residents and businesses of Tennessee affected by wind, severe weather and wildfires from March 30 to April 6, 2022, will be eligible for disaster assistance from the United States Small Business Administration, according to a spokesperson Wednesday.

According to officials, this comes after Governor Bill Lee sent a letter to the SBA dated July 11, requesting a disaster declaration. The announced declaration covers Sevier County and the adjacent counties, including, Blount, Cocke, Jefferson and Knox in Tennessee and Haywood and Swain in North Carolina, according to a release.

Now, businesses and residents in the declared area can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Tennessee with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Guzman. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

During the Hatcher Mountain wildlife in Spring of 2022 in Sevier County, over 200 homes and businesses were destroyed.

To assist those affected by the disaster, the SBA announced it would open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Sevierville at noon Thursday, July 21. It will be located at King Family Library, 408 High Street.

The center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm. on Thursday and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

It will close permanently on Thursday, August 4, at 5:00 p.m.

For those visiting the center, customer service representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and to help them with applications.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA’s Tennessee District Director LaTanya Channel.

According to a release, the SBA will also offer Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet capital needs caused by the disaster. Whether the businesses suffered physical or property damage, loan assistance will be available.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Those who apply may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes, a release stated.

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

Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or emailing [email protected] Application forms can also be found here.

Completed applications should be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, located at 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 19, 2022. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 20, 2023.

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