SBA Disaster Loans Available for Local Flood Victims

·3 min read

Feb. 19—The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance is offering funds to help those affected by January flooding in the Chehalis River Basin and beyond.

"They're low-interest government loans for businesses of all sizes, nonprofits ... as well as for homeowners or renters," said Barbara Nitis, public information officer with the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance. "People who qualify are those who during the incident of Jan. 5 to Jan. 16 have suffered any type of physical damage."

As an example, she said those who had water damage their floors in their homes qualify.

"(They're for) anything basically resulting from the flooding or winter weather — that's what happened during that timeline," Nitis said.

Loans are available for businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment.

These services extend to businesses of all sizes as well as nonprofits.

There are also Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and small businesses engaged in aquaculture. Home disaster loans are available to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

Homeowners can apply even if they do not operate a business out of their homes, or even if they do not own a business at all, Nitis said. However, secondary homes and secondary vehicles will not qualify, she said.

To help connect people to the loans, SBA has opened a disaster loan outreach center at the Lewis County Courthouse in room 121 to assist individuals who have questions or need assistance filling out the application. SBA staff will assist folks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until March 3.

According to a news release, SBA has made the low-interest loans available for up to $200,000 for homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

An additional $40,000 is available for eligible homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

A $2 million borrowing limit has been imposed for businesses and nonprofit organizations that need to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets.

Renters can qualify for up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

Interest rates start as low as 2.83% for businesses, 1.875% for private nonprofit organizations and 1.438% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.

"Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition," the release stated.

The program also offers relocation and mitigation services.

Mitigation funds come on a case-by-case basis and are used to help lessen the damage of future floods, Nitis said. Folks can qualify for up to an additional 20% of their qualified loan amount.

"And for relocation, if you are in a flood zone, you are able to relocate to a location that is not in a flood zone," she said. "So they have that option as well. We cover the deductibles, and there's no closing cost."

Nitis added: "It really does help everyone. That's why I say, 'At least apply and see what your options are."

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA's customer service center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information. Those who are hard-of-hearing can call 800-877-8339.