Article Courtesy of
The Sun Sentinel
By Joe Kollin
January 6, 2006
news for those who suffered damage during Hurricane Wilma in October and
missed Thursday night's deadlines to apply for assistance.
The Small Business Administration is giving condominium and homeowner
associations seven more days to apply for loans, and the Federal Emergency
Management Agency has extended until Jan. 19 the time individuals can apply
The SBA, aware that all federal agencies haven't been providing the same
information to callers, will accept loan applications if they're accompanied
by a letter of explanation," said Gus Fernandez, an Atlanta-based
spokesman for the SBA. However, he offered no guarantee the application will
"The letter should indicate that they received the wrong information from
another source and request consideration for their late presentation of the
application," Fernandez said.
FEMA, meanwhile, extended its deadline because the agency wants to "make
sure every Floridian has had the opportunity to apply and receive the
assistance for which he or she is eligible," said Justin DeMello, FEMA's
The SBA provides loans to businesses, including associations. FEMA provides
grants to individuals, including unit owners.
Applications for SBA loans can be mailed to the SBA's Texas office at 14925
Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The SBA has set a July 24 deadline for aid to offset the loss of business
because of Wilma. Fernandez said that deadline is later because businesses
need time to show the loss of revenue.
The SBA loans carry interest rates listed at 4 to 4.75 percent.
Although the SBA boasts of approving 588 loans worth $33.5 million in Florida
for Wilma recovery, experts suggest condo and homeowner associations also
apply to banks.
"Because you apply for an SBA loan doesn't mean you'll get it, so
associations should still get conventional loans," said Tracey Schnaitman,
president of VIP Property Management Specialists in Sunrise.
She also said "it could take [the SBA] 100 days to process the
application, and if they reject it, you have to start all over, and meanwhile
people's homes are leaking."
Many South Florida associations were rejected for FEMA aid because they are
corporations and the agency doesn't help corporations. Florida Condo Ombudsman
Virgil Rizzo last month convinced FEMA that only an association can repair
some commonly owned property, such as the roof over 30-unit apartment
building. FEMA then agreed to accept association loan applications and forward
them to the SBA.
ABOUT FEMA ASSISTANCE
TYPE OF AID: Rental assistance, repair grants, small business loans, housing
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: People who do not have insurance or whose losses are not
completely covered by private insurance. Insurance deductibles are not
IF YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE: Individuals and business owners who are ineligible
for a FEMA grant may apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration loan to
cover disaster-related losses.
TO APPLY: To apply for a FEMA grant or SBA loan, visit