Help for homeowners and renters struggling to pay for flood repairs has arrived in the form of loans provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Applications for the loans are due as early as March 30.
The loans cover as much as $200,000 worth of repairs to homes and $40,000 to replace personal property for homeowners and renters. Rates for the home loans are as low as 1.94 percent.
Though the SBA is typically a financial resource for local start-ups, disaster loans like these have been in the agency’s wheelhouse since the 1950s, said Garth MacDonald, a spokesman for the administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
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“Our funds are a major portion of what helps communities recover,” MacDonald said. “Our federal low-interest loans are the primary long-term recovery money.”
Applying for loans is completely free, MacDonald said. Homeowners who believe they could use the funds but aren’t sure if it’s the right decision are encouraged to apply anyway, he said.
“It’s one key source they don’t want to avoid or not bother to apply for at least by the deadline,” he said. “That way, they at least keep their options open.”
The deadline to apply for physical damage is March 30; Oct. 29 is the deadline for economic injury.
The direct federal loans are designed for homeowners and renters after federal disasters. The program also allows small businesses to borrow as much as $2 million for any property damage or economic loss that resulted from the flood, like having to remain closed for days. Most private non-profits are also eligible.