SBA accepts $ 800,000 in McLean County emergency loans; More than half refused
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) approved loans of $ 808,400 to homeowners in McLean County and surrounding areas, whose property was damaged by flooding in late June.
County, state and federal officials gave an update Wednesday on government assistance following the flooding that led to a declaration of disaster in McLean County. The SBA has made the long-term low-interest loans available to eligible home and business owners in McLean and neighboring counties.
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said the SBA approved 23 loans on Monday and received 66 applications.
Cathy Beck, acting director of the McLean County Emergency Management Agency, added that 28 requests had been denied and 15 more were still under review. Beck said six companies have applied for loans; three were refused and three are under review.
Beck noted that applicants must meet income and credit requirements.
“It’s a loan, so unfortunately there will be minimal things to do because they want their money back,” Beck said, adding that the guidelines are less stringent than those of a traditional bank.
Beck estimated that more than 2,000 homes and businesses were damaged in storms in late June, but said the total number of damaged properties is likely much higher. Beck said there was no cost estimate available. The county attempted to obtain a federal declaration of disaster, but did not meet the damage threshold.
Davis said he was disappointed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had refused a disaster declaration that would have made more financial assistance available, adding that FEMA’s formula makes it nearly impossible for areas less people to receive disaster relief.
“Almost all disasters in the upstate will not reach this threshold unless FEMA starts doing what my law says it should do – consider localized impacts,” Davis said. “They didn’t in this case and it’s unfortunate.”
Davis noted that SBA loans must cover damage not covered by private insurance.
State Representative Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said the SBA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency responded to the storms, but planned to look for ways to lower damage thresholds for uninsured losses to give residents better options.
“It was a joint effort between state and federal resources trying to find help,” Brady said. “Yes, it’s frustrating because he’s trying to find that needle in the haystack that meets the right criteria for these people. ”
The City of Bloomington plans to explore ways to provide direct assistance to homeowners who suffered damage in the June floods. Dozens of residents complained that raw sewage was filling their basements. The city’s insurer denied most of the claims because of what it considered a “law of God” weather event. Parts of McLean County received more than 10 inches of rain in less than three days from June 25-27.
Brady thanked the workers and other volunteers who helped with the cleanup and damage assessment. “This is where this volunteer help and the expertise of individuals like the laborers who came out and at least helped to assess was a lifeline for some of these people who fell through the cracks,” did he declare.
The deadline to apply for a loan to cover physical damage is September 24. Applications for the SBA Economic Recovery Loan will be available until April 26, 2022. Applications are available on the SBA’s website or by calling its toll-free number (800-658-2955).