By Kim Lux
Residents whose properties were damaged from the large storm that hit North East on Oct. 31, and into Nov. 1, can now apply for a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf requested the disaster declaration for the storm on Dec. 9. The declaration covers Erie, Crawford and Warren counties in Pa., along with Chautauqua County, N.Y., and Ashtabula, Ohio.
High winds and a seiche during the storm caused major damage to homes including erosion, break wall and bank devastation, water damage, drainage issues and more.
In order to obtain the disaster declaration, 25 homeowners with damage from the Oct. 31 storm had to file with the Erie County Department of Public Safety.
Those who filed had to show they suffered 40 percent or more in uninsured losses in four categories. The four categories were — the home itself, the contents / personal property, an economic loss and damage to the land and its improvements.
“I commend Gov. Wolf for his swift response in making the request for the disaster declaration,” said Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. “And I am grateful for the partnership of Erie County Department of Public Safety, North East Township, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Erie County municipalities, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Zone Management and the SBA in doing everything they could to assist our citizens with getting the aid they need.”
Following the declaration, residents with damage can now apply for the SBA loans to make the repairs. Residents who did not file with the Erie County Department of Public Safety earlier may still seek a loan.
Homeowners are eligible for loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Residents are also eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replaced damaged personal property.
The interest rate for homeowners’ loans is 1.5 percent.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations are eligible for loans up to $2,000,000. The interest rates for businesses is 3.875 percent and for nonprofits its 2.75 percent.
SBA officials have set up a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the North East Township municipal building, 10300 W. Main Road, to assist residents with their applications and answer any questions.
The SBA Center will be open today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Monday, Dec. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Area residents may also apply online via SBA’s secure website — www.disasterloans.sba.gov.
Applications can be printed out at and brought to the SBA Center or mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Economic injury applications from businesses must be returned by Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.