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Storm-torn counties eligible for SBA assistance

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Small Business Administration has made a disaster declaration for Jones County and six contiguous counties of Covington, Forrest, Jasper, Perry, Smith and Wayne, which were affected by the severe storms and tornadoes Nov. 16.

SBA has opened a disaster outreach loan center for residents in the eligible counties at the Jones County Emergency Operations Center on Mason Street in Laurel. The Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The center also will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 5-8.

Applicants will also be able to apply through the toll free number from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY) 1-800-877-8339, or by visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.

Homeowners and renters have until Jan. 30, 2012, to submit loan applications, and businesses have until Aug. 29, 2012, to the U.S. Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center at 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155.

SBA assists homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses. Rates on SBA disaster loans will be as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for nonprofits and 4 percent for businesses. Residents and businesses do not have to wait until insurance claims are settled to apply.

SBA offers disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair disaster damaged primary residences and up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property such as furniture and clothing. Businesses of any size and private non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

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