Editor's note: The following is a news release issued by Mercer County and the Federal Emergency management Agency.
Individuals, small businesses and private non-profit organizations in Mercer County and 16 other counties impacted by Superstorm Sandy have until Jan. 30 to apply for physical property damage loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Nearly 130,000 individuals – homeowners, property owners and renters – have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance and have received an SBA disaster loan application, but only 15,300 applications have been returned so far.
Individuals who have delayed in registering with FEMA may not be getting access to the federal disaster assistance programs they need or are eligible for. Furthermore, while 35,700 businesses have also registered with FEMA for assistance and have received an SBA disaster loan application, fewer than 2,500 applications have been received so far.
Business owners, homeowners, renters and property owners who have declined to submit an SBA disaster loan application for business or home repairs, or property replacement, may limit their ability to ultimately obtain grants and other assistance that may become available.
For businesses, an SBA disaster loan represents the best opportunity for disaster assistance. While there are other programs that will provide assistance, those programs may be less comprehensive and more limited than what SBA loans offer.
In addition, programs that may be available in the future will most likely be tied to the SBA disaster loan application. This is why it is essential for homeowners, renters and businesses to take advantage of the SBA Disaster Loan Program.
Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties were impacted by the hurricane in late October 2012. Residents, small businesses and nonprofits in those counties may apply for SBA assistance.
For information about the disaster loan process, or to have an application mailed to you, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).