BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted his request that Assumption, St. James and St. John parishes qualify for disaster assistance loans as a result of damage caused by tornadoes in those areas on February 23-24, 2016.

The SBA provides low-interest, long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by a declared disaster. Acting under its own authority, the SBA issued the declaration following the denial of the state’s appeal for a major disaster declaration on April 29, 2016.

“After meeting the families and seeing the devastation left in the wake of the tornadoes that passed through these three parishes, I promised to do everything within my power to ensure that they would get access to the resources needed to rebuild,” said Gov. Edwards. “My team and I are doing all we can to follow through on that promise. This decision by the SBA is another step towardtheir recovery. It is my hope and prayer that these families will be able to get back to their normal lives as soon as possible.”

The three parishes now qualify for three types of disaster assistance loans:

1) Home and Personal Property Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA, even if you don't own a business.

2) Business Physical Disaster Loans: Any business or organization located in a declared disaster area and that incurred damage during the disaster may apply for a loan to help replace or restore damaged property.

3) Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and have suffered economic injury regardless of physical damage, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Note: Businesses in any parish that borders these three parishes qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans only. The following parishes now qualify for this type of loan: Ascension, Assumption, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

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

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

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more disaster assistance information or to download applications, visit https://www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be 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 property damage is July 5, 2016. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Feb. 6, 2017.