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Disaster Relief Available For Residents, Businesses After July Storms, Flooding

Financial assistance is available from the federal Small Business Administration from last month's storms and flash flooding.

Central Illinois residents and businesses looking to repair or replace property damaged during last month’s severe storms and flash flooding can seek assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA is offering low-interest, long-term loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations, following a disaster declaration related to the July 15 storms. The declaration covers Woodford County and six adjacent counties, including Peoria, Tazewell, Livingston, and McLean.

“Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair their primary residence, and renters and homeowners can borrow up to $40,000 to repair and replace personal items, including automobiles,” said SBA public affairs specialist Ayanna Green-Garrett.

“Businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged business assets such as buildings, inventory, furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment," Green-Garrett added.

As a health precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA will not set up a field location in the area. Instead, the agency has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to assist with outreach and assistance with the Electronic Loan Application process.

Green-Garrett notes businesses that suffered economic losses from the disaster can seek up to $2 million in working capital loans to cover ongoing expenses until the business returns to normal, regardless of whether there was any physical damage.

Additionally, mitigation funds are available to cover the cost of protection improvements aimed to prevent future damage, such as installing retaining walls and sump pumps.

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

Green-Garrett said applicants must have a satisfactory credit history and show the ability to repay the loans. Collateral is required for loans of more than $25,000.

All loans have repayment terms of up to 30 years. Interest rates are as low as 1.25% for homeowners and renters, 2.75% for nonprofit organizations, and 3% for businesses. The application deadline for physical damage loans is Oct. 19, while the deadline for requesting economic injury assistance is May 19, 2021.

“There is no obligation to take an SBA loan if it is offered. However, it is important to submit an application before the filing deadline,” said Green-Garrett.

Customers can contact the outreach center online at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov or by calling (470) 363-6079 or (571) 422-7312. The outreach center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.