SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has declared Los Angeles County a disaster area as a result of the Station fire, ensuring that low interest federal loans are available for residents and business owners affected by the fire, which began on August 26. This action comes as a result of the Governor’s letter requesting the disaster declaration on September 10.

“We must do everything we can to ensure all available resources are made accessible to assist the fire victims and their communities in the recovery process,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “These loans will help Los Angeles area neighborhoods rebuild and will directly help small businesses and residents impacted by this event.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Los Angeles County and the neighboring counties of Kern, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Additionally, businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to pair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA may also lend additional funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations, 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.

Disaster loan information and application forms are available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800) 659-2955, by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or by visiting SBA’s Web site at Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure Web site. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is November 13, 2009 while the deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2010.