The Small Business Administration Offers Aide to Pocahontas Flood Victims
Recently, Allegheny Mountain Radio’s Heather Niday interviewed Richard Daigle, a Public Affairs Specialist for the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Office, to learn just what kinds of financial assistance that Federal agency can provide to Pocahontas County citizens and businesses who have suffered damages or loss from the July floods. Representatives of the SBA can be found, along with FEMA representatives at all of the Disaster Recovery Centers –or DRC’s- including the one at the McClintic Library in Marlinton.
- “Tell me a little about what the SBA is doing in regards to the flood recovery efforts?”
“Small Business Administration disaster Office, we are a part of the Federal Government and we work hand-in-hand with FEMA” said Daigle. “If you are a home owner, or a renter or a business owner, you can get financial assistance from the Small Business Administration. We know people have been hurt and lost a lot, and we really want to get money into people’s hands to help them build back as soon as possible.”
- “You guys are also working with the DRC’s throughout the State, so do you think we need to set up an appointment to meet you at the DRC in Marlinton?”
“Initially they can just come by” Daigle said. “They don’t really need an appointment. They come by and speak face-to-face with a SBA representative and that person can kind of guide them through the application process and explain to them what they need to bring to apply. It’s FEMA and SBA and Insurance and other sources –it’s really all these things working together to hopefully help people to build back and recover. You know, the SBA is a very important part of the recovery process. We can give home loans to homeowners up to 240 thousand dollars – and that interest rate can be as low as 1.625% with terms up to 30 years. for the businesses, we can give loans up to two million dollars at an interest rate that’s as low as 4%. And for renters we can give loans up to 40 thousand dollars. Thay interest rate can be as low as 1.625%. But we really want people to follow through and apply with the SBA.”
- “Now (I) understand you can apply for the loan, but that doesn’t mean you need to actually use it?”
“That’s right, when they apply for SBA assistance and if they are approved for the disaster loan, they have the option to use the loan or not use the loan – they are not obligated to use the loan” Daigle says. “Initially they may feel like ‘hey I don’t want a loan’ but then they apply for the loan and then later realize that they need to get money from some source to build back, and then realize that SBA Disaster loan with the long term and low interest rate is the very thing they need to help them get back on their feet. And there is a deadline of august 24th and we certainly don’t want that deadline to go by. So people who are sorting things out with their insurance company, we really encourage them to go ahead and apply with us. They don’t have to wait for their insurance to settle. The sooner they apply to us, the sooner we can get the money into their hands. Up to 25 thousand dollars of that loan is unsecured. So there’s really a lot of advantages to the SBA disaster loan and we want to make sure people apply and start to get the financial resources that they need to build back.”
Daigle says that the all of the disaster Recovery centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and you will find representatives from both FEMA and the SBA there. He says that down in Greenbrier county there has been a steady flow of people into the DRC’s but since they have just opened in Pocahontas county, they are still trying to get the word out. He has been impressed by the spirit of helpfulness among West Virginians.
Since this interview was done, the SBA sent out information that they can also provide disaster loan assistance to certain qualifying nonprofit organizations in Pocahontas and certain other WV counties who sustained damage in the floods of June 22nd to the 29th. These non-profits can borrow up to 2 million dollars at an interest rate of 2.625% for up to 30 years. The types of non-profits included in this are organizations like food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges. The deadline for physical property damage is September 6, 2016 and for economic injury is April 6, 2017. Information for this can be received by calling 800-659-2955.
I thank to Heather Niday for her assistance with this story.