Governor Tom Corbett today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to declare Centre County a disaster area after a devastating fire in Bellefonte damaged dozens of homes and businesses last month.
Small Business Administration (SBA) officials, along with local and state officials, conducted damage assessments at the site. The governor used the damage assessment results to support his assistance request to the SBA.
According to Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the damage in Centre County from the September 9th fire exceeds the SBA criteria of at least 25 homes and/or businesses with uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated fair market value.
Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications.
The SBA has established a disaster loan outreach center at the Willowbank Building, 420 Holmes Street, Room 144, Bellefonte, PA 16823. The outreach center will be open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center will close at the close of business on Tuesday, October 2.
SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the disaster loan outreach center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals to complete their applications. Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or by email. Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website.
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