Bill Appleman has flood insurance for his Creekhaven Inn in Wimberley, but that only covers the inside of his business. Last month’s flooding also caused damage to landscaping, an 800-square-foot deck and a driveway of his bed-and-breakfast overlooking Cypress Creek.
Appleman’s preliminary estimate of the damage is about $120,000. So he was encouraged to hear the U.S. Small Business Administration announce Friday that it would provide low-interest loans to residents and businesses that suffered damages from the Halloween floods.
“There is a good chance we will be looking into that, but the bottom line is that I need to assess where I’m at,” said Appleman, noting he would need to get final estimates from contractors and his insurance company before he considers applying for an SBA loan.
The loans are available in the hardest-hit counties of Travis, Hays and Caldwell, as well as the neighboring counties of Williamson, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Comal, Fayette, Gonzales and Guadalupe. The SBA offered the assistance after receiving a request Wednesday from Gov. Rick Perry.
“Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA,” the agency’s acting administrator, Jeanne Hulit, said in a statement.
Disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged homes, while residents can also qualify for up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings.
Businesses large and small, as well as nonprofit organizations, can seek up to $2 million to repair buildings, machinery, equipment or inventory. The agency can also lend funding to help homeowners and business owners make repairs to prevent future flood damage on their property.
According to the SBA, interest rates can be as low as 2.25 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.625 percent for private, nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The agency said loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
The deadline to apply for property damage loans is Jan. 21. The deadline for economic injury applications is Aug. 22.
Local governments have logged millions of dollars in damaged roads, parks and other public structures — including $14.4 million in Travis County and about $1 million apiece in Hays and Williamson counties — but they fall far short of the $35 million in damages needed to qualify for disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
How to apply
SBA representatives will be on hand at these outreach centers to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help people complete applications:
Travis County: Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive, Austin. SBA representative on hand from noon to 6 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday; 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday; closed Thanksgiving weekend; reopening Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until further notice.
Hays County: Hays County Precinct 2 Office, 5458 FM 2770, Kyle (at Crystal Meadow Drive across from Barton Middle School). SBA representative on hand starting Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays until Dec. 11.
Caldwell County: Caldwell County Scott Annex, Caldwell County Office of Emergency Services, 1403 Blackjack St., Suite E, Lockhart. SBA representative on hand 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 5, Dec. 6 and Dec. 12.
Applicants may apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Forms are also available by calling 1-800-659-2955 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 1-800-877-8339. For information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.