Flood assistance still available through Small Business Administration

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Assistance office closes Thursday, applications can still be made online


Staff report

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WASHINGTON – Ohio and West Virginia businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and flooding on May 6 are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

But if they need to apply in the Huntington, West Virginia, office, they will need to hurry because the office closes down on Thursday. Residents and businesses will still be able to apply online or on the telephone until November.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman made the loans available in response to a letter from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice dated Sept. 13, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. Businesses and residents in the declared area can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA. The declaration covers Cabell County and the adjacent counties of Lincoln, Mason, Putnam and Wayne in West Virginia; and Gallia and Lawrence in Ohio.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of West Virginia with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” Guzman said. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

To assist businesses and residents affected by the disaster, the SBA opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in Huntington, West Virginia. It is located at the Enslow Park Presbyterian Church, 1338 Enslow Blvd., Huntington, West Virginia. It is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and it will permanently close down on Thursday.

Customer Service Representatives will be available at the DLOC to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA has established protocols to help protect the health and safety of the public. All visitors to the DLOC are encouraged to wear a face mask.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“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 Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 2.935 percent for businesses, 1.875 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration # 17624.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 14, 2022. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 15, 2023.

Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from sba.gov/disaster.

Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.