Disaster loans still available for Allegheny County flood victims
The U.S. Small Business Administration has helped dozens of Allegheny County residents seeking flood relief, and applications still are available.
The SBA declared the county a disaster area after communities were hit with flooding on July 21 and 22. Rainstorms were reported to have dumped an average of 3 inches of rain in parts of the region.
A disaster field operations center was set up at the Renton Volunteer Fire Department fire hall at 1996 Old Mine Road in Plum last week.
All homeowners, renters and business owners that were impacted by the storms or suffered damages are eligible for disaster and economic injury loans.
Tamim Choudhury, SBA public affairs specialist, came before Plum council Monday night to explain some of the available options. He said at least 26 applicants helped at the center were from Plum, 23 homeowners and three businesses.
“I would encourage anyone affected to please consider this form of assistance,” he said. “These are low-interest long-term loans to help you recover.”
Loans can be taken out for seven to 30 years. It takes on average two to three weeks to process an application. A loss verification officer will do an assessment of the property once an application is submitted.
Homeowners are eligible for up to $40,000 for personal property such as furniture, appliances and other items. They are also eligible for up to $200,000 in disaster loans to replace a house. Interest rates can be as low as 1.9 percent.
Business owners can apply for up to $2 million at a 4 percent interest rate. Nonprofits can seek up to $2 million at 2.75 percent.
Choudhury said businesses and organizations also can apply for economic injury loans. They are primarily for people who have had to shut down operations, but not necessarily had physical damage done to their property. He said those groups should apply for both loans.
Choudhury said there will be a credit check, but those with bad credit should not be discouraged to apply.
“We want homes affected to be built again after a disaster,” he said. “We want a community to be whole again. We don’t have any application fee or closing cost. If someone chooses, they can have a four-month deferral on their loans. Interest will accrue, but you can have four months for a deferral. It’s not a regular loan … If someone has a low credit score, there will be considerations because of the disaster.”
The center is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday.
It is expected to close Aug. 20. People can apply for the loans online at [email protected]
Deadline to apply for the disaster loans is Oct. 7. Deadline for businesses and charities to apply for economic injury loans is May 7.
More information on the program can be found on SBA’s website at bit.ly/1nLaQ6G.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .