From left, Malyssa Suarez and Steve Cooper, both with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Hossain, of the Small Business Administration, and Brigitte Bouska, with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, conduct a joint preliminary assessment of tornado-damaged buildings June 5 at the Woodland Hills Apartments in Trotwood. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

SBA approves $2.3M in tornado loans so far

Small Business Administration loans to Dayton and Ohio tornado victims thus far total $2,291,500, an SBA spokeswoman said Monday.

For homeowners and renters, so far, the SBA has approved 51 loans, with at least 316 loan applications still in process, said Matthew Young, an SBA spokesman.

Spokespeople for the SBA declined to say whether that number could be considered low or high for a natural disaster of this scope.

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More than 15 confirmed tornadoes struck West Central Ohio late on the evening of Memorial Day, destroying or seriously damaging 2,200 structures in Montgomery County alone, according to the data provided late last month by Montgomery County.

Trotwood and Harrison Twp. received the brunt of the destructive force. In Trotwood, 1,144 structures — most them homes — where left unusable. In Harrison Twp., 774 residential and commercial structures were either destroyed or sustained major damage.

“We try not to compare disasters because they’re all different,” Young said. “And they’re all so different, because they affect different areas, they affect different economic groups of people, depending on where they hit. Some are bigger, some are smaller.”

“Our main message is: We want to encourage those people who have not yet submitted those applications to get them into us,” Young added. “We can’t do anything to help or assist anybody until we get that application.”

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“We just want people to apply, apply, apply,” said Julie Garrett, an SBA spokeswoman working in the Dayton area since June.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had received 2,758 registrations for tornado damage assistance as of late June from a 10-county disaster area.

Most of those — 2,352, or about 85 percent — were submitted by Montgomery County survivors, FEMA said.

Asked how busy local SBA business recovery centers are, Garrett said, “We would like them to be busier.”

It’s possible some residents are applying online or others believe they simply don’t need to apply for SBA assistance because their property is insured. And some may not understand that private homes can receive SBA assistance.

SBA loans cover residential and business fencing, decks, driveways, landscaping, debris removal, sheds and more. These are things most insurance policies do not cover, Garrett said.

“That’s what I’m worried about, that people don’t get that,” she said.

SBA’s Business Recovery Centers are offices where anyone can apply for a SBA disaster loan, including homeowners and renters.

Locally, SBA offices can be found at the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce, 3210 Beaver Vu Drive, and the Harrison Township Community Center. 5945 N. Dixie Drive, Dayton. Both centers are open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The first thing people need to do is register with FEMA. That’s how affected residents start the whole process, Young said.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 19. “It’ll be here before we know it,” Young said. “And we don’t want to leave anybody out who might need assistance in their recovery.”

To start the process online: To register with FEMA, disasterassistance.gov. If they’re referred to the SBA, then they should begin the application process at disasterloan.sba.gov.

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