LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – Louisa County residents should finally get some answers about how to rebuild after the August earthquake. Wednesday, FEMA opened a disaster recovery center in the county. The goal is to help victims register for federal grants and small interest loans.
This is an area that has really suffered since the earthquake and many of the people here say they're just grateful to have somewhere to go to get some answers about how to get help.
"I think it's very important that you come in and talk to the people so that you can learn the process so that and they can walk you through what you need to do," said Bernice Wilson- Kube, Vice Mayor of Mineral. Just like everyone else, she was waiting in line for help.
Her chimney still sits in a pile of bricks outside her home.
"There are a lot of people that can't afford to fix their houses so this is a very important process," she said.
But officials say everyone with damage, should stop in this office.
"You really don't know what you might be eligible for, so if in doubt, if you had damage because of this event, then you need to register," said Art Alejandre a public information officer for FEMA.
"We've got a lot of work ahead. This is the start," added Bob Spieldenner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "It's going to be complex, it's not going to be easy for people in the recovery process, but we're going to be here to help them out."
And for people still picking up the pieces, answers bring relief.
"I just hope they will come through financially," said Rosie Hughes, who was registering for aid. "I mean, we're working class people and we do need some help."
The center has hours seven days a week.
The center is located at Triangle Plaza, 502 East Main Street, Louisa, VA 23093. It's open from Monday through Saturday 9:30-7:30pm. It's also open Sunday from 1-6pm.
You can register over the phone at 1-800-621-FEMA or online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
State emergency management teams are asking anyone in surrounding counties with earthquake damage to call FEMA as well. That number is 1-800-621-FEMA. At this point, the help is dedicated to Louisa county, but officials hope to be able to expand it to other victims.
Earthquake Survivors in Virginia can Apply for SBA Assistance
WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills issued the following statement after a Presidential disaster declaration was announced for Louisa County in Virginia, which was affected by an earthquake on Aug. 23, and more than 40 aftershocks.
"The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the people of Virginia with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."
The disaster declaration covers Louisa County in Virginia, which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private
non-profit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Albemarle, Fluvanna, Goochland, Hanover, Orange and Spotsylvania in Virginia.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses and private non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 2.5 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 800-621-FEMA (3362), (TTY) 800-462-7585 for the deaf and
hard-of-hearing. Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at
800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA's website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is January 3, 2012.
The deadline to return economic injury applications is August 6, 2012.
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For more information about the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov.