After waiting almost three months victims of the November 17 tornado will be able to receive some federal aid from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The governor’s office announced the approval saying businesses, residents and some non-profits in Daviess and 18 other counties will be eligible to receive low-interest federal disaster loans.
“I think this is potentially good news,” said Daviess County Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Goss. “This will provide a mechanism that will help people rebuild. It’s just going to be through low-interest loans.”
The tornado that swept through western Daviess County and the west side of Washington damaged 112 homes and businesses. State officials sought disaster declarations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would have provided grants to help victims rebuild, but FEMA turned those down.
“We would have preferred the grants,” said John Erickson with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. “The SBA loans will help. We’re happy there is some relief. This is a great program that offers a lot of positives for those who were hurt by the tornado.”
The program offers loans of up to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of damaged real estate, up to $40,000 for homeowners and renters to replace damaged personal property, and as much as $2 million for businesses and nonprofits to replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment, machinery, inventory and other business assets.
“This is the next best thing to FEMA grants,” said Goss. “It could make a difference for people affected by that storm.”
The SBA will set up temporary offices in Boone, Daviess, Fountain, Grant, Howard and Tippecanoe counties. The office in Washington will be at the West End fire station at 1002 West Walnut Street. It will open Friday, February 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Open again on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Then open the following Monday February 17 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.