The U.S. Small Business Administration has declared eight eastern Iowa counties a disaster area following the April tornadoes and severe storms that claimed one life and caused millions of dollars damage.
While FEMA denied Governor Vilsack’s request for disaster assistance last week, S-B-A spokesman Phil Duncan says his agency is stepping in to offer low-interest loans to businesses, non-profits, homeowners and renters. Duncan says the S-B-A is opening a Disaster Outreach Center in Iowa City on Tuesday, with the hours of Tuesdays through Fridays from 8:30 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Saturdays from 10 A.M. through 2 P.M. It will be closed on July 4th.
The disaster declaration covers eight counties: Johnson, Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Linn, Louisa, Muscatine and Washington. Duncan says the outreach center is being opened in Iowa City since that area took the bulk of the damage. He says people can come in and they’ll find S-B-A personnel who will sit down with them and help them fill out the loan applications for businesses of any size, homeowners, renters and non-profit organizations.
While the S-B-A typically focuses its attention on just small businesses, Duncan emphasizes these loans are being offered by the federal government to everyone who had damage in the April 13 and 14 twisters and storms. The loans for home damage can go up to 200-thousand dollars with another 40-thousand for personal contents, while business loans can go up to one-point-five million dollars.
It’s estimated nearly 500 properties had damage in the storms, with some damage totals reaching between nine-and-11-million dollars. Duncan says the interest rates for the S-B-A loans are very low, given the circumstances. The home loans will be offered at an interest rate as low as two-point-875 percent while the business loans will carry an interest rate of four-percent.
The S-B-A Disaster Outreach Center will be opening Tuesday 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”.