Disaster relief available for Front Street fire victims

akelley@thesunnews.comOctober 4, 2013 

Disaster relief assistance is available for the victims of the Front Street fire, said Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach.

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located in Rooms 218 and 219 of the historic Georgetown County Courthouse, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. The center will be open Oct. 8 through Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those who lost homes and livelihoods in the fire that destroyed seven buildings on the 700 block of Front Street Sept. 25 may be eligible for a low-interest disaster relief loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The fire left 13 people homeless and 130 without jobs, Broach said.

Jeanne A. Hulit, acting administrator for the SBA, made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Nikki Haley on Oct. 3, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Georgetown County, plus the adjacent counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Horry, Marion and Williamsburg.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of South Carolina with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans,” Hulit said. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

Loans up to $200,000 are available 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, said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

“This was a blessing for the people who were affected by that fire,” said Sam Hodge, Georgetown County’s emergency manager. “Some of them lost everything. I know there are a lot of people who will be incredibly grateful for this designation by the SBA and the support of Gov. Haley, which made it possible.”

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. 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.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 3, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 7, 2014.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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