Low interest loans available to flood victims
SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center for Arizona Strip residents opens Tuesday
BEAVER DAM - The residents of the Beaver Dam-Littlefield area of northern Mohave County who were impacted by heavy flooding in late December are now eligible for low-interest Small Business Administration loans.
"For the last several weeks, San Bernardino County, Calif., has been in the process of determining whether it will get a declaration for individual assistance for people whose homes were impacted by the flood system that came through California and Arizona back in December," said Mohave County Emergency Management Coordinator Byron Steward. "San Bernardino and other California counties were able to qualify for SBA declarations to provide low-interest loans to individuals whose homes were damaged.
"Because Mohave County is a contiguous county to San Bernardino, we were able to piggy back on their declaration to make loans available to residents of the Beaver Dam-Littlefield area," he said. "Mohave County didn't initially meet the criteria to qualify for SBA loans by itself. That would have required 25 homes to have 40 percent or more uninsured damage. However, we have been very hopeful since December that we would be able to piggy back on a neighboring county that did qualify."
According to a news release from the SBA, La Paz County is also eligible.
"Disaster declarations issued by the administrator of SBA include contiguous counties for both property damage and economic injury sustained as a result of the storms," SBA Arizona District Director Robert Blaney stated in the release. "Low-interest federal disaster loans available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by the disaster."
The SBA can designate a disaster assistance declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"But this time, they did it independently," Steward said.
Loan center open this week
SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire District Station 1, 630 North Highway 91, Littlefield.
"Interested residents can stop by the center and find out what is available for their individual needs," Steward said. "They can get the paperwork and discuss their situations on a one-to-one basis with an SBA representative."
According to an SBA news release, "Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets."
Loan amounts are based on individual conditions and "interest rates can be as low as 2.25 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for private, non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years."
Flood mitigation work is also in the process for the Beaver Dam Wash.
"The federal National Resource Conservation Service has been continually in contact with Mohave County Flood Control Division personnel since the December event," Steward said. "One NRCS individual went up there with our Damage Assessment Team on Dec. 28 to review the entire length of the wash as it fronts on the community to determine some of the trouble spots. NRCS is in the process now of scheduling an engineer to go up to the area later this month to do a thorough engineering inspection of that stretch of the wash. They will work with our flood personnel to determine which areas are of highest priority for bank protection measures. They will put together estimates for the costs of the projects."
Typically, NRCS will provide 75 percent of the funds for such projects with a 25 percent match coming from local entities, such as homeowner organizations and businesses.
"We are glad to see the SBA declaration that will lead to low-interest loans for individuals," Steward said. "That loan program is one of the few government level assistances available to individuals."
For more information on SBA loans, call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. For more information on Mohave County Emergency Management, call (928) 757-0930.