LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There is additional help for victims of the flood in eastern Kentucky, and it’s an option many people may not know is available to them.
The United States Small Business Administration has set up shop in Clay, Letcher, and Perry counties, and they are not only accepting applications for low-interest loan offerings, but they are encouraging everyone - even those who’ve applied for or will receive FEMA assistance - to apply for an SBA loan.
“For homeowners and renters, if you are referred to the SBA (by FEMA) please don’t skip that (SBA application) step,” said SBA Public Affairs Specialist, Tauheedah Matten. “In order for FEMA to consider you for other grant consideration, you have to go through the SBA step,” Ms. Mateen continued.
The SBA program has funding of up to $2,000,000 for small business owners, but non-profit organizations are eligible too. And for homeowners, a loan of up to $200,000 could go a long way towards helping your rebuilding or relocating costs. Each loan will come with a low, fixed interest rate, and a repayment schedule that could be as long as thirty years depending on how much you choose to borrow. And because the SBA program is lending you the money, they will need to verify your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. There’s also a loan program that allows victims to apply for help with replacing personal items, such as clothing and furniture that was lost or damaged by the water.
“We always say, don’t wait for insurance to settle. Or if you don’t have insurance, go ahead and submit your application with SBA. We will fill in those gaps with what insurance didn’t pay for. And you can always say you don’t want to accept the loan,” Mateen explained.
And the process, unlike underwriting and funding a mortgage, does not have to be long and drawn out over thirty or more days.
“There are some businesses, I saw this morning, who have already received their funding,” Mateen said of the loan-funding process.
Not everyone will be approved by SBA for whatever reason but, as Mateen noted earlier, by submitting a no-obligation SBA application, they can then refer you back to FEMA, and perhaps encourage FEMA to offer you more assistance than what was approved originally.
The SBA eastern Kentucky offices are open from 9 am to 7 pm, seven days per week. In Clay County, they are on the EKU-Manchester campus at 50 University Drive. In Perry County, you’ll find them at the Hazard Community and Technical College, Jolly Classroom Center on 1 Community College Drive. And in Letcher County, the address is 229 East Main Street in Whitesburg. You do not have to reside in one of those three counties to qualify for SBA assistance.