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Victims of January 25 Fultondale tornado now eligible for disaster relief loans

Individuals and businesses who suffered damage from the tornado that ripped through Fultondale in late January are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans, the federal government announced on Monday.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the agency providing the loans.

“Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA,” said SBA administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in a release.

An outreach center where SBA representatives will help facilitate the loans is set to open on Wednesday, April 7 at the City of Fultondale Public Library.

The loans are being made available to the relevant Alabamians after Governor Kay Ivey sent a letter to the SBA on March 30 requesting assistance.

“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,” explained SBA’s Alabama district director Tom Todt.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses and agriculture cooperatives whose earnings or potential earnings were damaged by the tornado, even if the business suffered no physical property damage.

“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,” added Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

An increased amount, up to 20% of the value of physical damage sustained, can be added to the loan for the construction of disaster mitigation features such as a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall.

Interest rates on the SBA loans can be “as low as 3 percent for businesses, 2 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.125 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years,” according to the SBA, which adds, “Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.”

The deadline for loans related to property damage is June 1, 2021, and the deadline to apply for a loan to reimburse economic injury is January 3, 2022.

Those interested in the loans have the option to apply online or call 1-800-659-2955 in addition to the in-person outreach center at the Fultondale Public Library.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.