On Thursday, starting at about noon, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) set up camp in Norwalk City Hall to give residents of the area an opportunity to come by and apply in person for loans and grants available to those affected Hurricane Sandy.
"Homeowners can be eligible for loans covering real estate up to $200,000 and personal property up to $40,000," said SBA Public Affairs Specialist John Oliver Frederick. "We have customer service representatives here to walk residents through the application and review process and loans can be submitted directly through them."
Frederick said the loan process, on average, shouldn't take too long. Loan offers are generated after both the SBA and FEMA send loss verification personnel to survey the damage and combine their data. Offers can be made in as little as five days, he said, and have rates as low as 1.68-percent.
"We work closely with state and local agencies to determine where we allocate our resources," said Rita Egan of FEMA.
Rita said all application locations are wheelchair accessible and can have a sign language interpreter available when given prior notice, often in as little as 30-minutes. She also urged those who might have been out of work to apply for Disaster Unemployment at any of Connecticut's unemployment offices.
"Anyone who has been impacted should go ahead and register," Egan said. "These are your tax dollars at work."
Egan gave the following statistics:
- 8,710 registrations in Connecticut with FEMA.
- 5269 of those are from Fairfield County
- Approximately $6 million in aid has gone out: $5.6 million for real estate, $281,000 for personal property
"It's important to every person who has been affected, so it is important to us," Frederick said. "We urge everyone to make sure they submit their application for assistance so we can get them the aid they qualify for."
Frederick said it is important, once registered, to submit any applications handed out. Failure to do so is a declaration to the agency that a potential applicant is no longer in need of assistance, so make sure to turn in all paperwork.
FEMA and the SBA will be available at Norwalk City Hall until 8 p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.