SBA loan application deadline set

Laguna Beach residents who suffered damage in the December floods have until Friday — longer if they make a phone call — to apply for a low-interest government loan.

The Small Business Administration's temporary office in Laguna Beach closed a couple of weeks ago, but applications can still be obtained by downloading them from or by calling customer service.

"We will be giving applicants an added 14 days, if they call, to take mail service into account," said SBA customer service representative Jodie Cohn.

Customer service is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (800) 659-2955.

"To date, 81 applications were issued in the Laguna Beach ZIP codes and 38 of them returned, including nine from businesses," said Mark Randale, the SBA public relations officer. "Twelve applications were approved for a total of $541,500."

Ten of the approved loans were for homes, amounting to $464,700 and two for businesses, amounting to $76,899. Forty-three applications remain outstanding.

Applications were also issued from the Laguna Beach office to people from other affected areas, Randale said.

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and private, nonprofit organizations. Loans can be used to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

An SBA office was opened in Laguna Beach in the Chamber of Commerce until applications dwindled and personnel returned to Sacramento.

"We stayed as long as the activity justified our being there," Randale said. "We were told that Laguna Beach was a true success story for the program because of the people who were approved."

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