Hundreds of homes and businesses saw millions of dollars damage in the Iowa City-area tornadoes in April, but few owners are taking advantage of the Disaster Assistance Outreach Center that opened this week in Iowa City. Mark Randle, spokesman for the U.S. Small Business Administration-backed center, says they’ve only had a trickle of the expected traffic.
Randle says it’s a one-stop facility that can speed the recovery process. Randle says people can sit down with loan officers one-on-one, they can get help filling out the application and then get it processed out of the same office. While FEMA denied Governor Vilsack’s request for a disaster declaration, the S-B-A named eight eastern Iowa counties under its declaration: Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, Louisa, Muscatine and Washington.
Randle says the low-interest S-B-A loans are -not- just for businesses. Randle says the S-B-A disaster assistance is for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit groups. He says about 80-percent of the loans made by S-B-A following disasters are to homeowners because there are usually many more homeowners effected than businesses.
Nearly 500 properties had damage in the April 13th storms, with some damage estimates reaching between nine-and-11-million dollars. He says “We don’t want people to wait if they still have something pending but to come in and apply and find out what they’re eligible for. We can cover the deductibles or the gaps that insurance doesn’t cover. If there are code-required upgrades to the properties, we can include that in the S-B-A loan.”
The outreach center is at the Johnson County Administration Building at 917 South Dubuque Street in Iowa City. It’s expected to be open through mid-July. For more information, call (800) 659-2955 or surf to “www.sba.gov”.
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