The U.S. Small Business Administration opened a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Lee County, on March 8 to help businesses in Alabama affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on March 3, 2019.
SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The Center is located as indicated below and will operate until further notice:

Lee County
Southern Union State Community College
Technical Building 7, 1st Floor, Classroom 5
301 Lake Condy Road
Opelika, AL 36801
Opens: Friday, March 8, 2019 at 10 a.m.
Hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed: Saturdays and Sundays

The disaster declaration covers Lee County in Alabama which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Chambers, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa in Alabama, and Harris and Muskogee in Georgia.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“The SBA is committed to facilitating economic recovery in this disaster. We want area businesses to have a resource where they can meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan can help them recover,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is May 6, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 5, 2019.

Companies wishing to better prepare for a disaster can download the Alabama SBDC Network’s Guide to Disaster Planning & Recovery.