The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will open two local centers Thursday for people and businesses affected by the recent Memorial Day tornadoes.
A spokeswoman for the SBA emphasized that the agency processes loans not just for businesses, but for homeowners and renters, too.
“We are the only program in the Small Business Administration that is authorized by Congress to make loans to homeowners and renters,” said Kathy Cook, a public affairs specialist with the SBA’s East Field Operations Center in Atlanta. “And a majority of our applications are from homeowners and renters.”
MORE: This Dayton engineer helped make possible the first photo of a black hole
A center in Montgomery County will be open at the Harrison Twp. Community Center, 5945 North Dixie Dr., Dayton. That center will open at 10 a.m. Thursday, operating on weekdays after that from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
In Greene County, another center will be open at the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce, 3210 Beaver-Vu Drive, also opening Thursday at 10 a.m., then operating 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. thereafter, closed weekends.
The agency advises businesses and homeowners to first register losses through FEMA via disasterassistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362.
After registration, FEMA will ask applicants a series of questions. Some owners will be referred to the SBA. If so, they should apply for assistance, Cook said.
Loans of up to $25,000 are available without any required collateral. Interest rates for businesses of all sizes are as low as 2.75 percent, or as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters.
“Readers might go, ‘Oh, I don’t want a loan,’” Cook said. “First of all, don’t count yourself out, because you don’t know what you qualify for. And also, our loans can be stretched out as far as 30 years, if necessary, to make them affordable.”
The loans cover losses not covered by insurance. And the government also lends for working capital needs, to help keep businesses afloat, whether they sustained tornado damage or not.
“There’s a lot our program offers, and people kind of gloss by it,” Cook said. “The only cost is the time it takes to make the application.”