Low-interest loans are available for homeowners and businesses alike who were affected by the flooding that took place at the end of August in Whitehall and surrounding communities.
Essex, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Warren county homeowners and businesses are also eligible for these low-interest loans with the declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Nov. 10 that the U.S. Small Business Administration has granted his request for a Physical Disaster Declaration for Washington County following the severe storm and subsequent flooding.
According to a news release the storm that affected Whitehall on Aug. 24 caused damage to 40 homes and 13 businesses or non-profit organizations. The total amount of damage came to more than $1.5 million.
Staff from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Washington County completed an assessment of the damages after the storm and flooding. They found that there was major damage done to 21 homes and five businesses, totaling $384,200 and $193,000, respectively.
They also confirmed that there was minor damage done to 19 homes and 8 businesses or non-profit organizations, totaling $570,000 and $360,000.
There are certain criteria that must be met qualify for these loans.
Homeowners with up to $200,000 needed to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, homeowners and renters with up to $40,000 needed to repair or replace personal property, business owners with up to $2 million needed for the replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and other physical losses and businesses and non-profits are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume after a disaster.
According to a news release the interest rate for these loans can be as low as 1.19% for homeowners and renters, 2.75% for non-profits and 3% for businesses with terms of up to 30 years.
The loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and will be based on the applicant’s financial condition.
The SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Applicator from their website at www.disasterloanassistance.sba.gov.
Customer support representatives are also available to assist anyone looking to complete the online application. They are also there to answer any questions about the program.
The virtual outreach center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You can also reach out to the SBA Customer Service Center at [email protected] for more information. Those who are hard of hearing can call 800-877-8339.
Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Washington County urges any resident without access to a computer or internet connection, or if you are experiencing issues with processing, to reach out to the county’s Department of Public Safety team for direct assistance.
You can reach them by phone at 518-747-7520 ext. 1 or by email at [email protected].
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Jan.5 and the deadline to return economic injury applications is Aug. 6.
Mayor Phil Smith said he thinks this is a great opportunity for those who can afford to register for the low-interest loans.
But he isn’t sure how many will actually apply.
“I’ve talked to a few people in the community that are having hardship as it relates to the flooding,” he said. “So far their comments to me have all been that this is great news, but they can’t take advantage of it because it’s a loan.”
Smith said that Whitehall is a low-income community, and some people can’t afford to take out loans, even if they are low interest.
“It’s still debt that needs to be repaid and they just can’t afford it,” he said.
Smith added that this is good news for those who can afford it and that they should take advantage of the opportunity.
Town supervisor John Rozell said he was thrilled to hear that homeowners and local businesses such as Joe’s Pizza and Carol’s Collectibles will have the opportunity to apply for some financial relief.
He wanted to thank everyone who was involved with getting everything put together so this process can move forward.
“I know it’s a loan, low-interest, and I think most of them are long term so I hope it helps,” Rozell said.