I would like to take this opportunity to remind your readers of the importance of preparing our families, businesses and communities before a disaster strikes. So far this hurricane season we have been very lucky, but it is only halfway through. Most of us forget that its lasts until November and it is up to all of us to take the necessary steps to protect our lives and property before a storm hits.
We can all make sure our homes and business are less vulnerable by identifying possible hazards, developing emergency plans, keeping emergency phone numbers handy, and maintaining copies of important business and personal records off-site. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers more preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners and renters at www.sba.gov/disaster_recov/prepared/getready.html.
Also, I would like to remind everyone that the SBA makes low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes following a disaster declaration by the President. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Individuals may borrow up to $40,000 to cover losses to personal property. Non-farm businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may apply for up to $1.5 million to repair or replace disaster damaged business assets and real property. Small businesses that suffered economic losses as a direct result of the declared disaster may apply for a working capital loan of up to $1.5 million, even if the property was not physically damaged.
It has been said that the best time to respond to a disaster is before it happens. I urge everyone in our community to prepare and be safe.
Carmen A. Culpeper
Small Business Administration
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