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SBA offering disaster assistance

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WORTHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that low-interest federal disaster loans are available to northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota residents and business owners affected by severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds and tornadoes that occurred from June 14-23.

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The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the primary Iowa counties of Lyon and Sioux and the neighboring Iowa counties of Cherokee, O’Brien, Osceola and Plymouth; the neighboring Minnesota counties of Nobles and Rock; and the neighboring South Dakota counties of Lincoln, Minnehaha and Union.

“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster,” explained Joseph Folsom, SBA’s Iowa District Director.

Beginning at 10 a.m. today, SBA representatives will be on hand at Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application. The centers will be open on the days and times indicated until further notice; no appointment is necessary.

A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at 114 First Ave., Rock Rapids, Iowa. It opens at 10 a.m. today and will then be open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

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, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

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

Interest rates can be as low as 2.188 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.625 percent for private, nonprofit organizations and four percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by 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 https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-659-2955 or e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 1-800-877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is Sept. 8. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 8, 2015.

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