Carlton County residents and businesses declared eligible for loansSmall Business Administration loans are key step in recovery process
By: Drew Digby, Pine Journal
The announcement that disaster relief loans from the federal government are now available to residents and businesses of Carlton County is an important step forward in the recovery process. Late last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that low interest rate loans are now available in Carlton County, as well as Superior, Wis., and surrounding counties.
Residents whose insurance does not cover flood damage need to apply for an SBA loan in order to become eligible for other kinds of aid, including aid from Minnesota that might be approved later this month by the state legislature and from “Unmet Needs Committees” that are being set up to distribute money raised by the United Way and Volunteer Services of Carlton County.
While key decisions have not been finalized about either aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the state, residents can take a few steps to speed the process. The first is to make sure they’ve contacted their insurance company even if they don’t have flood insurance to get a formal denial of coverage. This denial paperwork will be crucial in applying for other kinds of aid. The second step is to apply for a SBA loan. While many won’t qualify for a SBA loan because of income and other requirements, a denial from SBA, or only a partial award, is required before applying for other state aid or for aid from the Unmet Needs committees.
SBA loans for homeowners have rates as low as 1.938 percent and are for amounts up to $200,000 to repair damage to homes and for amounts up to $40,000 to replace or repair personal property. More details on the loans are available at the SBA’s field office in Superior or from this website: www.sba.gov.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Center in person may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the Center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 25, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 29, 2013.
“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, in a SBA press release. “SBA’s customer service representatives are on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, and help individuals complete their applications.”
The center is located in the Douglas County, Superior Business Center, 1423 N. Eight St., Superior, Wis. It will be open from now through Thursday, Aug. 9, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is closed Sunday, Aug. 5. While there may eventually be Disaster Loan Outreach Centers set up in Minnesota as well, they will likely not be established until after a special session of the Legislature is held, or possibly not at all.
“Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said Eric Ness, SBA’s Wisconsin district director.
The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the 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 physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.