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Tsunami 2011: SBA to open disaster outreach center in Kona

Submitted by admin on Wednesday, 13 April 2011No Comment

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has declared Hawaii County to have been “adversely affected” by the Japan tsunami of March 11 and will make low-interest federal disaster loans available.

The loans will be available to residents and business owners in Hawaii, California and Oregon. The disaster declaration opens the way for SBA assistance in three California counties, two Oregon counties and the big Island.

SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following damage assessments in each of the three states and is not in response to the presidential disaster declaration.

Last week, Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked for the SBA Administrative Disaster Declaration to provide low-interest disaster loans to private individuals, businesses and nonprofits on Hawaii Island to repair or replace materials damaged from the tsunami. Damage sustained on the other islands did not qualify for disaster loans under SBA guidelines.

State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeria was at the disaster recovery center Tuesday at old Kona Airport and said he was pleased to see the SBA declaration, as it offers different opportunities to the state or federal declarations.

For example, he said, the federal declaration assists with repairs and replacing public facilities and infrastructure.

“The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist those residents and businesses affected by the tsunami with federal disaster loans,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said.

The loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.563 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for private non-profit organizations and 4 precent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years.

Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.

SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the Kona outreach center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the program, explain the application process and help complete applications.

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.

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

For small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of any size, SNA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. this assistance is available regardless of of whether the business suffered any property damage.

The Hawaii County outreach center will be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays Thursday, March 31 to Thursday, April 21.

It will be at West Hawaii Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway. Building D on the first floor next to the Information Center.

No appointments are necessary.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is May 31. The deadline for economic injury applications is Dec. 29.

— find out more:

SBA Customer Service CenterPhone: 1-800-659-2955Email: : sba.gov/services/disasterassistance

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