The Small Business Administration (SBA) is asking residents who contacted them for long-term disaster relief to turn in all applications for aid by Nov. 23.

Tom Nocera, public information officer with the SBA, asks that residents bring the appli-cations to the disaster relief center in Trion or at the Walker County Agriculture Center, behind the Civic Center in Rock Spring.

Nocera said SBA will gladly answer any questions for applicants and will help them fin-ish filling out the applications, if needed.

“Don’t let the word ‘business’ in our name mislead you,” Nocera said, noting that in dis-aster situations, the SBA offers more loans to homeowners and renters than to businesses.

According to Nocera, 11,472 applications have been sent out to Georgians seeking the SBA’s assistance for disaster relief following recent flooding. Homeowners and renters have received 9,745 of those applications, meaning that fewer than 2,000 have gone to businesses.

Only a little more than 200 applications have been returned at this time. The deadline for applications to be turned into SBA is Nov. 23.

Nocera said that six applicants have already been approved for loans in Georgia, and more are coming in each day.

Approval for an SBA loan, according to Nocera, does not mean that an individual is obli-gated to take that loan. Those who are approved and accept SBA loans have 30 years to pay it back, following a deferral period of several months designed to help people “get on their feet.”

Individuals seeking SBA loans or FEMA grants for disaster relief must turn in the appli-cation to be considered for funding.

“As soon as an individual homeowner or renter receives the application by mail, they should immediately fill it out and turn it in,” Nocera said.

At this time, the SBA and FEMA cannot provide estimates on how long they will remain in the area.

According to the SBA, physical disaster loans are a primary source of funding for perma-nent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured or underinsured disaster damages to pri-vately owned property. SBA’s physical disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations such as churches.

Economic injury disaster loans provide necessary working capital until normal opera-tions resume after a physical disaster. The law restricts economic injury disaster loans to small businesses, small agricultural co-operatives and certain private, non-profit organiza-tions.

The state of Georgia has received $4451.8 million in disaster loan approvals from Oct. 1, 1989 to June 30, 2009.