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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell requests U.S. Small Business Administration assistance for Luzerne County tornado damage

HARRISBURG (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today asked the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to declare Luzerne County a disaster area following a confirmed tornado Dec. 1, 2006.

The designation would make low-interest loans available to the eligible homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damages from the tornado.

“Whenever a natural disaster strikes, those affected move to rebuild their lives as quickly as possible,” said Governor Rendell. “The commonwealth has a responsibility to provide them the tools and resources they need to get back on their feet.

“I have asked the SBA to institute a disaster declaration for Luzerne County so the area’s property owners can get the funds they need to recover.”

According to Governor Rendell, damage assessments conducted in the county meet the U.S. Small Business Administration’s standard: at least 25 homes and/or businesses exist with uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated, fair market value.

If the Governor’s request for Luzerne County is approved, eligible homeowners and renters could borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Homeowners can borrow an additional $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate. Business owners can borrow up to $1.5 million.

SBA disaster loans are intended to help restore disaster-damaged property to a pre-disaster condition. PEMA Director James R. Joseph added that, under federal SBA regulations, such a declaration would also qualify neighboring Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Monroe, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Wyoming counties for assistance.

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