published Friday, June 24th, 2011

SBA offices open through June 30

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SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center can be reached at 800-659-2955 or Customers who registered with FEMA should have registration information handy. Register with FEMA online at or through a smart phone or tablet at To find out the status of FEMA disaster assistance applications or other information, call 800-621-3362 or visit (TTY 800-462-7585 for hard of hearing. Multilingual assistance also available.) Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Application deadline is Aug. 9.

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Tornado victims in Collegedale and Cleveland, Tenn., soon will be dealing with the U.S. Small Business Administration rather than FEMA as storm recovery winds down.

The last two Federal Emergency Management Agency tornado recovery centers in Southeast Tennessee are set to close at 6 p.m. Saturday, but SBA disaster assistance staff will be available in the same offices Monday through Thursday of next week, SBA spokeswoman Debra Freeland said Thursday.

“The reason we want to establish this center is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity, from individuals to businesses, to come into those centers to get assistance,” Freeland said.

The recovery centers are at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale and in downtown Cleveland. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SBA disaster loan assistance can provide financial help for homeowners, renters and businesses of any size, Freeland said. People who were turned down for FEMA aid still can seek help from SBA, she said.

Renters may be eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property such as clothing, furniture or vehicles. Homeowners may be eligible for loans up to $200,000 in addition to the $40,000 for personal property losses, she said. Businesses could be eligible for loans of up to $2 million.

Interest rates are as low as 2.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for nonprofit organizations. The filing deadline is Aug. 9.

Even though the FEMA centers are closing, uninsured storm victims still can get federal help, said Greg Hughes, the FEMA spokesman in Cleveland.

Applicants should prepare a list of their uninsured losses and provide information about their insurance policies. FEMA also can help pay rent for families who were forced from their homes while they rebuild or repair damage.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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