'SBA to Helps Rebuild Homes, Businesses, Communities'

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June 25, 2013

'SBA Helps to Rebuild Homes, Businesses, Communities'

Oklahoma Tornado Disaster Area

Brought to you by U.S. Small Business Administration South Central Region VI

A Message From the Regional Administrator

RA Yolanda Garcia Olivarez

Yolanda Garcia Olivarez

Tornados, explosions, droughts, hurricanes, flooding – you name it, we have endured it. Although I’m saddened by the loss and destruction, I am also inspired by the stories of strength and resiliency of our families and entrepreneurs.  I am proud that SBA is one of the federal agencies able to step up and provide people with help and hope to rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.  This year, states in the South Central Region have undergone devastating disasters, like the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas and the terrible twister that hit Oklahoma, not to mention the severe drought and flooding that has impacted this region. 

Disaster loan dollars in Region 6

Since 1989, SBA has provided almost $40 billion in disaster assistance across the country, and many billions in loans have gone to homeowners and small businesses in the South Central Region states.  (see chart at left).

If you are in a declared disaster area and have experienced damage to your home or personal property, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA — even if you do not own a business.

When a disaster declaration is made, various SBA disaster loan programs become available to eligible applicants:

Applying for a SBA disaster loan is now more simple and streamlined than before because you can apply online.  The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about your loan eligibility.  

Current Disaster Declaration Chart - Region 6

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. 

Businesses of any size 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 homeowners and business owners 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, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. Interest rates can be as low as 1.875% for homeowners and renters, 4% for businesses, and 2.875% for private, non‑profit organizations, with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

More information about the SBA disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov/disaster.

RA Yolanda Olivarez, Luke Connally, Kevin Wynne

RA Yolanda Olivarez tours West, Texas disaster with Congressman Bill Flores' staffer Luke Connally, center, and Kevin Wynne, SBA Disaster Office. 

Home destroyed in West Texas explosion

Below, SBA disaster team is on the spot to help Oklahomans recover from tornado damage.

Damage from tornado in Oklahoma

Phoenix Award Winner

SBA Honors Louisiana Public Official Natalie Robottom for Outstanding Disaster Recovery Efforts during Hurricane Isaac

Natalie H. Robottom

St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie H. Robottom was awarded the SBA Award for her outstanding contribution to disaster recovery in her role as a public official in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

The award was presented to Robottom during a breakfast event held in Washington, D.C. June 21, during National Small Business Week. Since 1998, the SBA has presented the Phoenix Award to business owners, public officials and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.

When the National Weather Service sent out the first Hurricane Isaac warning on Sunday, August 26, 2012, Robottom took action. The St. John the Baptist Parish president coordinated with local officials to secure road barricades in anticipation of flooding, and executed door-to-door evacuation efforts.  She also shared storm updates with parish residents via press releases and social media. By Wednesday, more than 3,000 residents and 200 pets were evacuated. Hurricane Isaac’s wake left five feet of floodwater, mountains of debris, power outages and an emotionally devastated community.  Robottom’s decisive leadership in the early stage of the area’s recovery had a calming, unifying impact. 

First, she organized the distribution of food, ice, water and tarps. The parish president then directed her staff to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Louisiana Housing Task Force and FEMA to address housing needs of residents. Robottom also worked with SBA, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and the local Small Business Development Center to establish a Business Recovery Center. She connected with an association that educated residents about building contractor fraud, and set up a volunteer center where the elderly and disabled could get help.  Meanwhile, Robottom went to Washington D.C. to testify before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee to advocate for levee protection and parish recovery. With an uplifting message and a determination to rebuild better and stronger, Robottom demonstrated vision and tenacity as she tirelessly led the efforts to make St. John the Baptist Parish whole again.

“The Phoenix Award is an acknowledgment of heroic work and a recognition of the contributions made to disaster recovery,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.  “Natalie Robottom displayed tremendous courage and resourcefulness in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, and she exemplifies the spirit one must have to rebuild after a disaster like this.”

Don't Be Caught By Surprise -PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS NOW

SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies through their “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to access past webinars and for useful preparedness tools. 

Take the Red Cross READY RATING to find out if you are prepared

SBA and the American Red Cross have joined forces to intensify outreach efforts to educate the public about the importance of having a disaster recovery plan in place.

Studies show that between 15% to 40 % of businesses fail following a natural or man-made disaster. the Red Cross Ready Rating™ program. Ready Rating (www.readyrating.org) ™ is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps a business measure its ability to deal with emergencies, and gives customized feedback on how to improve those efforts.

Recent disasters have served as a reminder for individuals and businesses to make a plan.

Disaster preparedness for homes and businesses should include a review of your property insurance to make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Make backup copies of important documents, and store them at an offsite location. Put together an emergency kit, which contains first-aid supplies, cash, bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and plastic garbage bags.

Learn more...