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Federal assistance centers open for those affected by Halloween storm

Federal assistance centers open for those affected by Halloween storm

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Hague Brook washout

Hague Brook undercut a portion of Route 9N as seen Nov. 5, 2019 after the Oct. 31, 2019 storms. The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up "disaster outreach centers" to help those in the region who suffered damage to homes or businesses in the Halloween rain and windstorm last fall.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up “disaster outreach centers” to help those in the region who suffered damage to homes or businesses in the Halloween rain and windstorm last fall.

The SBA will have staff at Lake Pleasant Public Library on Route 8 in Speculator through the close of business March 12.

The declaration covers Essex, Herkimer and Oneida counties and the adjacent counties of Clinton, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oswego, Otsego, Saint Lawrence, Warren and Washington.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA’s District Director Bernard Paprocki.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available, regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.875 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.5 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339) for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 27. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Nov. 25.

Local municipalities will also be receiving reimbursement for infrastructure repairs after a disaster declaration was made for the state for tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Don Lehman covers police and court matters, Warren County government and the outdoors. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or dlehman@poststar.com

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