The state's request for a federal Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration to mitigate the impact of the Jan. 6 fire in Shelton that destroyed personal property and businesses has been approved, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced late Friday. Residents and business owners affected by the fire can now apply for low-interest SBA disaster loans. Malloy will discuss the funding during an event Saturday at the Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company on Coram Avenue. \u201cl would like to thank the SBA for granting my request,\u201d Malloy said. \u201cI encourage all homeowners and businesses affected by this devastating fire to take advantage of these loans and apply as soon as possible to determine what assistance might be available to them.\u201d Disaster declaration The SBA acting administrator, Jeanne Hulit, made the loans available in response to a letter from Malloy on Jan. 21, in which the governor\u00a0requested the federal agency issue the disaster declaration. The declaration covers Fairfield County and the adjacent counties of New Haven and Litchfield. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents a part of Shelton, said the SBA assistance will help. \u201cThe Jan. 6 fire was a tragedy, but \u2014 with this help from the SBA \u2014 Shelton will rebuild," DeLauro said. "The SBA immediately started working at the request of my office to evaluate the damage and this declaration is good news for the impacted residents and businesses. \u201cI will continue working to make sure everyone affected can get back on their feet," she said. SBA Outreach Center to open Early next week, the SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Fairfield County to make SBA customer service representatives available to speak face-to-face with applicants, answer individual questions about the assistance, and help individuals complete their applications. A separate announcement will be made advising the public on the location of the Disaster Loan Outreach Center once a site is determined. Helping businesses cover losses \u201cThe fire in Shelton earlier this month displaced families, forced local businesses to shutter their doors, and ravaged the downtown area,\u201d said Congressman Jim Himes, who also represents a part of Shelton \u201cWhile the community is still reeling from this alarming disaster, I am pleased that the SBA has approved this assistance to help local business owners cover their severe losses," Himes said "I stand ready to continue providing the full support and assistance of my office as Shelton continues to recover," he said. Economic Injury Disaster Loans The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help businesses overcome economic losses and meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The rates on these loans are 3% for nonprofit organizations and 4% for businesses with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility for the loans based on the size and type of business and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant\u2019s financial condition. Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million. Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA\u2019s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by sending an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Business loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from the SBA\u2019s website at https:\/\/disasterloan.sba.gov\/ela\/.