The shock is starting to wear off for hundreds of Iowans who lost their homes and businesses in Sunday’s tornadoes and floods, and now some of them are beginning to fill out the paperwork necessary to rebuild. Bill Koontz, spokesman for the U.S. Small Business Administration, says while "small business" is in the name, the agency is also helping to rebuild houses with low-interest loans.
Koontz says: "The S.B.A. can make a loan for the contents of your home, if you’re a renter or a homeowner, up to $40,000. If you’re a homeowner and you have damage to your real estate, we can make a loan as much as $200,000." Businesses and private non-profit groups may borrow up to one-and-a-half million dollars to repair or replace damaged or destroyed assets.
Butler County is declared as a federal disaster area, and Koontz says Buchanan and Delaware counties may soon be added to the list. He says residents of Butler County who had damage should start by calling FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "To be considered for disaster assistance, folks should call FEMA and register with FEMA and they’ll automatically be registered with the S.B.A.," Koontz says. "By doing that, you’ll be considered for FEMA’s grant money and you don’t have to pay that back. If your damage is significant, then you’re referred over to S.B.A."
The maximum amount of the FEMA grants is around $29,000. Koontz says FEMA and the S.B.A. are working together on the Iowa disaster, but they’re handling different aspects of the job. "FEMA is the ambulance on the scene. They’re helping people. They’re putting them into shelter right now. They’re helping them buy prescription drugs, if they need that sort of thing. The long-term recovery for the community and the people effected is handled by the S.B.A.," Koontz says.
For more information, call FEMA at 800-621-3362, or the S.B.A. at 800-659-2955.