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Federal aid released to Joplin disaster area

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While Joplin awaits President Obama’s scheduled visit Sunday, the president has declared Jasper and Newton counties disaster areas, freeing federal dollars to help area business owners and residents cover losses from the May 22 tornado.

Business owners can apply for federal disaster loans up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration, which today opened a Recovery Center in the Joseph Newman Innovation Center, 407 Pennsylvania Ave., in downtown Joplin.

Among the programs administered by SBA are federal disaster loans for businesses, homeowners and renters. For instance, SBA’s business physical disaster loans cover repairs or replacement of damaged property, real estate, inventory, supplies or machinery, at 4 percent to 6 percent interest, SBA officials told Joplin Tri-State Business Journal. SBA’s economic injury disaster loans, also at 4 percent to 6 percent interest, serve as working capital for companies whose client bases were affected.
Nonprofits also are eligible for loans under different terms.

Officials said the application deadline is July 8, and applicants must first register with Federal Emergency Management Agency. For more information, call (800) 659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov.

Through FEMA, residents can receive up to $30,200, though FEMA External Affairs Specialist Josh deBerge said the average aid is $2,000 to $6,000 per resident. Individuals may be eligible for federal assistance to cover uninsured losses or expenses, such as temporary housing, home repair and replacement of household items, according to a FEMA news release.

Individuals in these counties can apply for aid three ways: by calling FEMA at (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585; online at www.disasterassistance.gov; or directly on their mobile phones at m.fema.gov.

Additionally, Obama said the Jasper County and Newton County governments may seek assistance for response and recovery expenses for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

“I remain in close contact with President Obama and (Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet) Napolitano to update them regularly on the response efforts and what additional federal support may be needed as recovery efforts get under way,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, in a news release. “We also continue to urge all survivors in Jasper and Newton counties to contact FEMA about applying for federal disaster aid.”
Obama announced May 24 that he would visit Joplin on May 29, upon his return from six days of meetings in four European countries.

The president has issued this statement: “Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Mo., as well as communities across the Midwest today. We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time. At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed.”[[In-content Ad]]

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