What Churches Need to Know About the New FEMA Disaster Aid Process
What Churches Need to Know About the New FEMA Disaster Aid Process
A breakdown of the options churches now have access to for disaster protection and relief.
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Access to these funds does not require a presidential declaration of disaster—only two or more acres or properties that have experienced flood damage. Coverage limits depend on the policy, but they can go up to $250,000 toward building repair and $100,000 toward building contents.

SBA Disaster Loans

After disaster damage has occurred, churches now have the option to turn to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance program for federal aid. This program is the primary form of federal assistance for privately owned property damage, providing loans to churches and faith-based non-profits. These funds are only available following a presidential declaration of disaster.

While 80 percent of these loans go to individuals for primary residence repairs, churches, non-profits, and religiously affiliated schools can apply for Business Physical Disaster Loans. These loans offer up to $2 million for real estate repairs, and can also be used to repair and replace furniture, fixtures, etc. The interest rate offered to nonprofits is fixed at 2.5 percent, and collateral is required for loans over $25,000. The SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but it will ask for whatever collateral is available.

Because of the policy change, SBA is accepting disaster loan applications for physical damage past the filing deadline from houses of worship for disasters declared from August 23, 2017 through January 1, 2018. Applications can be submitted online here.

Posted: February 27, 2018

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