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SBA Disaster Assistance Following the West Springfield Apartment Fire

Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Kerry, a senior member of the Small Business Committee, today announced that the Small Business Administration will make low-interest disaster loans available to residents and businesses affected by the apartment building fire in West Springfield on April 30. The loans are available as part of a disaster declaration that covers Hampden, Berkshire, Hampshire and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts, as well as Hartford, Litchfield and Tolland in Connecticut.

"After a disaster like this, helping families and businesses get back on their feet is job number one. I'm glad the Small Business Administration is stepping up to make these loans available -- and as always, people shouldn't hesitate to get in touch with my office if there's anything we can do to help," Senator Kerry said.

The SBA loans available include:

* Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

* Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

* Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, 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 and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

* Interest rates are as low as 2.688 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.

* SBA's customer service representatives will be on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, issue applications and help individuals complete them. The Center's location and hours are:

Hampden County

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Region 3 & 4

1002 Suffield Street

Agawam, MA 01001

Open: Tuesday, May 24 -- Thursday, May 26; 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Closing: Thursday, May 26, at the close of business

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Center may obtain information on loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, or by sending an e-mail to Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website at Completed applications should be returned to the Center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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