FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Kentucky businesses and residents in ten eastern Kentucky counties affected by severe storms, flooding, flash flooding, landslides, and mudslides from Feb. 3 through Feb. 29, 2020 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Andy Beshear on May 27, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Bell, Harlan and Whitley counties and the adjacent counties of Clay, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, McCreary and Perry in Kentucky.
In addition, Campbell and Claiborne counties in Tennessee, and Lee and Wise counties in Virginia, are also eligible for the assistance, as they border the affected area.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Kentucky with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Carranza. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
In accordance with health precautions for the coronavirus, the SBA will not establish a field presence to assist survivors. However, SBA will provide service and conduct outreach virtually with webinars, skype calls, phone assistance and step-by-step application assistance.
To this end SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.
There are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application.
“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 Kentucky District Director Robert Coffey.
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 3.75 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations and 1.563 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.