Victims of January’s tornadoes in the Iona-McGregor area of South Fort Myers who seek help have another option available to them.
Residents affected by severe storms and tornadoes on Jan. 16 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SBA Administrator Isabella said. Casillas Guzman. Guzman made the loans available in response to a letter from Governor Ron DeSantis’ authorized representative, Kevin Guthrie, on April 25, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA.
The January 16 tornado touched down in Mercury Way and Century 21 mobile home parks in the Iona section of South Fort Myers, destroying 72 homes and damaging 58 other homes. Homes in Charlotte County were also damaged.
An SBA Disaster Loan Awareness Center has been established at Faith United Methodist Church of Lee County at 15690 McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers, Florida. The center will be open until Thursday, May 19. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist individuals with their applications. All DLOC visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask.
Interest rates are as low as 2.83% for businesses, 1.875% for nonprofits, and 1.438% for homeowners and tenants, with terms up to 30 years.
“Loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property. Landlords and tenants are eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, director of the SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. Applicants may be eligible for an increase in the loan amount of up to 20% of their physical damage, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.
“Businesses and private non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets damaged or destroyed by a disaster,” said South Florida Acting District Manager J. Malcolm Richards. For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet capital needs. turnover caused by the disaster. EIDL loan assistance is available whether or not the business has suffered property damage.
Eligible mitigation upgrades may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain, or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage from a similar disaster. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial situation. Applicants can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) through the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA statement #17436.
“SBA’s mission-focused team is ready to help small businesses and Florida residents impacted by severe storms and tornadoes,” Guzman said. “We are committed to providing federal disaster loans quickly and efficiently, with a client-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”
Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impediment , please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or by emailing [email protected] Loan applications can be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.
Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $25,000 and all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as security when it is available. The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. However, the law limits companies with credit available elsewhere to a maximum term of 7 years. The SBA sets the amount of the installments and the corresponding maturity based on the repayment capacity of each borrower. The law limits EIDLs to $2 million to mitigate the economic damage caused by the disaster. SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for repairing or replacing real property and $40,000 for repairing or replacing personal property.
Second homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property are not eligible unless used for business purposes. Goods such as antiques and collectibles are only eligible for damage repair. Business owners may be eligible to refinance existing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery and equipment. equipment. SBA disaster loans can be used to move.
Applicants may also call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email [email protected] for more information about SBA disaster assistance.
The federal assistance is separate from the $1.8 million State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Disaster Assistance Grant agreement with the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church approved by the Board of Lee County commissioners last month.
The state has also set up a portal to raise funds for tornado victims through the Division of Emergency Management at https://www.floridadisaster.org/info/Assistance/.