Sandbags protect the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant from flood water after record-setting rains swelled the Grand River. Photo by Mike Nichols
Property owners who suffered damages from April’s storms and subsequent flooding of the Grand River can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, starting Tuesday.
The federal agency is opening a local outreach center at the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, at 701 Ball Ave. NE, to help with making damage claims.
“Staff will be there to provide one-on-one assistance to homeowners, renters and business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by flooding. These loans will help provide some relief to residents and businesses impacted by this disaster,” said Jack Stewart, emergency management coordinator for Kent County.
The center will be open from June 18-27. Monday through Friday hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. The office will be closed on Sunday, June 23.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Michigan with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
Property owners can get loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property.
Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
“Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets,” said Gerald Moore, SBA Michigan district director.
The SBA also said that a loan may be increased by as much as 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate to make upgrades that lessen the risk of damage by similar disasters in the future. The SBA, though, has to verify these improvements.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aqua-cultural businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes.
These loans meet working capital needs that were caused by the flooding, and this assistance is available even if a business did not suffer any physical damage from the river’s overflow.
Interest rates could be as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.875 percent for nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.
“I am pleased that the SBA will assist West Michigan families and businesses who were impacted by the flooding,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, who declared 19 counties, including Kent, as disaster areas on June 7. “These loans will bring some relief to those who are working to recover and rebuild.”
An estimate made by a team put together by Kent County listed the damage total as $10.6 million in mid May. The estimate included public property outside of Grand Rapids and private property in the county.
Stewart said officials are still waiting to hear if any funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be made available to property owners in the county.
The filing deadline for property-damage applications is Aug. 12.
The EIDL deadline is March 12, 2014.
For more information, call (800) 659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice at sba dot gov.