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Flood victims qualify for SBA loans

SOUTH POINT – The U.

Sunday, March 31, 2002

SOUTH POINT – The U.S. Small Business Administration is opening a disaster assistance office in Lawrence County to help recent flash flooding victims, Gov. Bob Taft announced Friday.

The office will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the South Point Village Hall.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Larry Jewell said both home owners and business owners may apply for low-interest loans.

"I want to stress to people that if they don’t fill out an SBA application, they won’t be eligible for any other assistance that could become available – such as grants or other government loans," Jewell said. "This is absolutely necessary."

Jewell said it takes 15 to 20 minutes to fill out the application. The amount of time it takes to actually get money varies, depending on the circumstances. He advised that prospective applicants may want to bring any estimates they have obtained for repairs, pictures of property damage and vital personal information, such as social security number, address and phone number.

The SBA provides home owners with up to $200,000 to repair or restore their home. Loans may be increased up to 20 percent for future flood mitigation. The actual amount received will depend on the actual cost of repair or restoration.

The SBA also provides up to $40,000 to help repair or replace personal property, such as furniture or clothing, or other real estate.

Business owners and operators of non-profit agencies may apply for loans of up to $1.5 million to pay for flood repair or restoration.

The office will remain open as long as there is a steady stream of people coming in to apply for loans, Jewell said. When it closes, people will be directed to call 1-800-359-2227.

The deadline for applying for the low-interest loans is May 28.

Areas of Lawrence County flooded on March 20 after as much as 6 inches of rain fell. The flooding destroyed two homes and a church and people had to be rescued by boat from about 30 homes. Lawrence County also reported to the state that 23 homes and four businesses suffered major damage.