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Polk tornado victims can now apply for federal loans to help with repairs, replacing property

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Damages sustained in an EF-2 tornado have met the threshold for a disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

This means residents and business owners can apply for low-interest SBA loans.

More than fifty homes sustained major damage or were destroyed in the Oct. 18 tornado, according to Polk County Emergency Management Program Manager Greg Becker.

Hundreds more sustained either minor damage or were “affected.”

“This will help cover some of the losses that there might not be the money in the community to cover otherwise. It’s important to understand these are loans, they’re not grants,” said Becker.

Eligibility and credit requirements do apply.

SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

“This was the type of disaster that’s kind of between where there’s nothing that happened and the ones where the big federal response happen and bring in the assets. The SBA program is designed to help in those in between situations,” said Becker.

Beginning Friday morning, the gym inside the Salvation Army on Kathleen Road will be hosting the SBA’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center.

Members of the SBA staff will be on hand to answer questions and help people apply.

“Hopefully between us all and the federal government, we can get some things done,” said Salvation Army Mjr. Barry Corbitt. “You do have people who are uninsured, whose resources were a little bit limited to begin with so that’s the group we really want to see.”

The Center will be open from Nov. 15 through Nov. 26.

Hours are as follows:

Friday, Nov. 15 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sundays Closed
Tuesday, Nov. 26 Closes at 4:30 p.m.

You can also apply online here or by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Applications must be filed by Jan. 13, 2020 for physical damage and Aug. 13, 2020 for economic injury.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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