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Fayette, Westmoreland storm victims may apply through SBA for funds to fix flood damage

| Thursday, July 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Homeowners, renters and businesses in Fayette and Westmoreland counties that were affected by recent severe storms and flash flooding are now eligible for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration to repair damage, but officials are still waiting on a federal disaster declaration needed for grants.

The Small Business Administration on Wednesday announced it approved Gov. Tom Corbett's request to declare Fayette, Jefferson and Clearfield counties disaster areas so residents can apply for the low-interest loans. Another 14 counties that border the three, including Westmoreland, are eligible for the loans, as well, according to the agency.

The loans are to repair storm and flooding damage between June 27 and July 12.

Guy Napolillo, assistant emergency management director and 911 coordinator for Fayette County, said at least two homes were destroyed in the flooding, two had major damage and 29 had minor damage. Napolillo said the figures are incomplete because not everyone who had damage has contacted the county to report it.

“We're still getting phone calls,” Napolillo said.

Napolillo said officials are waiting for a federal disaster declaration, which would make municipalities and individuals eligible for grants and other types of loans to repair roads and bridges. He estimated damage to public roads and bridges countywide at $1.8 million.

In addition, Napolillo said seven private roads and bridges were damaged.

The hardest-hit areas in Fayette were North Union, Connellsville and Dunbar townships and South Connellsville and Dunbar boroughs, Napolillo said.

An SBA disaster outreach center where residents can obtain information and applications on the low-interest loans is expected to be open by the end of the week in the new terminal building at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport in Dunbar Township, Napolillo said.

Loans of up to $40,000 are available to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, according to the SBA. Loans of up to $200,000 are available for damage to real estate.

In addition, information is available by calling the SBA at 1-800-659-2955. Loan applications are available at www.sba.gov.

The other Pennsylvania counties that are eligible for the loans are Indiana, Somerset, Washington, Greene, Armstrong, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clinton, Elk and Forest.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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