Application open until April 12; interest rates as low as 1.18%
March 2, 2021
Residents of Malden affected by last fall’s devastating fire can apply for loans through the Small business administration until April 12.
The SBA approved a disaster declaration for Whitman County on February 9, shortly after the county’s request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency individual help was denied, Malden Mayor Dan Harwood said.
In addition to Whitman County, the statement also includes surrounding counties such as Adams, Sutton, Columbia, Franklin and Garfield, said Cynthia Cowell, the SBA’s public information officer.
People eligible for loans have the option of rebuilding themselves at a very low interest rate. Interest rates could be as low as 1.18% for homeowners and tenants and 3% for businesses, she said.
“It’s a pretty decent rate, even in today’s world,” Harwood said.
The disaster declaration covers businesses of all sizes, including private nonprofits, landlords and tenants. The SBA opened its first Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help those interested in applying for loans, Cowell said.
Many people are uninsured or underinsured. The SBA can give them loans of up to $ 200,000 for a house and $ 2 million for a business. Economic disaster loans are available for business owners who may have suffered economic losses, she said.
Homeowners and tenants may be eligible for personal home loans up to $ 40,000. These loans cover things people take when they leave their homes, such as cars, furniture, clothing, and some household appliances. Cowell said the SBA is also providing mitigation measures for homeowners to help them prepare for the upcoming fire season.
“A lot of people will say, ‘I know I’ll never qualify for a loan, we’re in the middle of COVID,’ and my suggestion would be to go ahead and apply,” Cowell said. “It doesn’t make a sound… so we can determine if we can help you, and in most cases we can.”
The SBA does not provide loans to farmers. Farmers should turn to the United States Department of Agriculture for help, she said.
Cowell said it was important for people to use their insurance money first. The SBA cannot duplicate what insurance will pay people, but it can supplement it up to the amount of the damage to the home.
“For most people things are tough right now and so we are offering people who probably couldn’t afford the higher rates lower rates, and that’s one of the reasons we differentiate ourselves from the banks, ”she said.
Harwood said he encourages everyone who is eligible to apply for the loans. If someone does not have the capacity to repay the loans and is refused by the SBA, there is other help available to them.
Currently, an Amish group is building two homes for individuals in the city. Harwood said everyone comes together as a community and people will get the help they need.
“When people go through a traumatic experience, people go through many levels of recovery: denial, anger and depression,” he said.
The fire that ravaged Malden was quite unique due to the large number of destroyed homes, he said.
Harwood said he wanted to reach out and thank everyone who helped the Town of Malden during this time, whether it was the Commerce Department or someone who donated $ 5.
“There is no way for us to thank everyone,” he said. “We want everyone to know how much we appreciate their help and think of us.”