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February 15, 2014

SBA opens office to aid tornado relief

Almost three months after a tornado swept through Daviess County the U.S. Small Business Administration has set up an office offering some relief for the victims of the storm.

A pair of SBA representatives opened the temporary office at Washington’s West End fire station to answer questions and assist people in filling out applications. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible recover from their uncompensated losses,” said Travis Brown with SBA.

Washington is the third stop for the two-man office. Previously they had shops in Kokomo and Hillsboro. “The response has been a lot more that we expected, especially when you consider the actual event happened three months ago,” said Brown.

That event in Daviess County saw an EF-2 tornado touch down in the Maysville area then sweep into the west side of Washington before roaring down Sycamore Street. It left behind at least 112 damaged homes and businesses. The tornado in Washington was one of more than 20 around Indiana marking the second largest tornado outbreak in Indiana history. State officials originally sought grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency but FEMA did not approve the disaster declaration. The state appealed and was turned down a second time. That was when Indiana turned to the SBA disaster assistance.

“Once that request was made we were on-site and ready to provide services within ten days,” said Brown.

SBA is offering low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the tornado. Home disaster loans are available at a rate of 2.25 percent, business loans at 4 percent and non-profit loans at 2.62 percent.

The loans can last for as long as 30 years.

“Many of these loans can have longer terms than a traditional lender would offer,” explained Brown. “We try to tailor them to the person’s ability to pay them off.”

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