SBA Disaster Recovery Loan Deadline Set for Aug. 19

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters have until Aug. 19 to apply for a disaster recovery loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Residents in Mahoning and adjacent counties are encouraged to apply for a low-interest disaster loan to assist in paying for damages caused by inclement weather May 27-29. Adjacent counties include Columbiana and Trumbull counties in Ohio, as well as Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania.

Since July 12, the SBA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, have staffed a disaster recovery center at the Boardman Township Administration Building, 8299 Market St. Originally set to close July 16, it has remained open to serve the increasing number of homeowners and business owners seeking assistance.

Of the 633 Mahoning County homeowners and renters to register with FEMA more than 250 have come to the center, says FEMA spokesman Gerard Hammink, more than the organization anticipated.

“The reason we stayed open longer is because of the number of visitors we’ve received,” Hammink says. “We want to be flexible for the needs of the community. And that’s what we’re doing.”

Statewide, more than $3.3 million in FEMA grants have been distributed, of which Mahoning County has received $362,223 – second behind Montgomery County, “which was the worst hit,” he says. There have been 5,156 total registrations in the state so far.

The center will remain open until further notice, says Tamim Choudhury, public affairs specialist with the SBA. As the number of visitors dwindles, the organizations will give a 48- or 72-hour notice of when they will officially close the center.

The SBA has approved more than $11.6 million in low-interest disaster loans for Ohioans, according to a release. Businesses and private nonprofits can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans for physical damage, including real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other assets.

Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Loans are available for up to 30-year terms with interest rates of 4% for businesses, 2.75% for private nonprofits and 1.938% for homeowners and renters.

As of July 16, six business owners have applied for SBA assistance at the center, Choudhury says. He has been in touch with chambers of commerce and emergency management directors in adjacent counties regarding Economic Injury Disaster loans available through the organization.

Economic Injury Disaster loans are available whether the business has suffered physical property damage, he says. He cites a regional golf course that had continuous flooding, so had no revenue coming in.

“That’s where this comes in,” Choudhury says. “If you have economic need for working capital, we can provide that with the same terms.”

Choudhury has seen “significant interest” among homeowners for hazard mitigation funding, he says. The monies would be used for upgrades to a property to mitigate damage in the event of future flooding.

Eligible applicants may receive up to 20% of their physical damages, he says. Upgrades may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall.

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