We learned this week that in addition to federal disaster loans and SBA help for some small businesses, the Small Business Administration also helps homeowners. Jim Atkins with the SBA disaster-assistance program says most folks think their help only includes advising new and existing business operations. He says it’s a struggle with public perception, but every year about 80-percent of the loans made through SBA’s disaster program are to individuals for their homes and personal property. Atkins says the SBA will help with damaged homes, personal possessions lost to storms or other natural disasters, and personal vehicles. There are some items that don’t qualify for the organization’s help. Luxury items like fur coats and swimming pools are examples of losses that aren’t eligible for disaster assistance, and all looses have to be tied to a disaster — tornado, storm or flood. Once the presidential disaster declaration includes the county you’re in, Atkins says you should make the call that begins your eligibility, to 1-800-621-FEMA and then agents from not only the federal emergency-management agency but others including the SBA will start checking to see if there’s aid they can offer.
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