San Luis Obispo County residents, including homeowners and renters, and businesses affected by the December storms will be able to apply for low-interest federal loans.
Disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, according to officials with the U.S. Small Business Administration, who acted on their own authority to declare a disaster after the state’s denial of a request for a major disaster declaration for individual assistance.
Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
A string of heavy storms hit San Luis Obispo County in December, causing flooding and damage to about 70 homes.
Many of the homes are in the Oceano area, though damage was also reported in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Cambria, Cayucos, Nipomo, San Luis Obispo, Santa Margarita and Templeton.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which assessed damage primarily in Oceano and Avila Beach, tallied 40 homes with major damage, according to Ron Alsop, the county’s emergency services manager.
He said the county estimates $1.1 million in damage to residences and more than $900,000 to businesses. Of the $1.1 million, about $610,000, or 55 percent, was in the Oceano area.
“While we are disappointed we did not receive FEMA disaster assistance for our citizens, I am pleased our county was able to get the SBA declaration for those impacted by the storms,” Alsop wrote in an e-mail.
The Small Business Administration can also lend funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from happening in the future.
Interest rates can be as low as 2.25 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years, according to the SBA.
Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.
The SBA’s disaster declaration makes assistance available in the California counties of Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
President Barack Obama on Jan. 26 issued a major disaster declaration for 10 counties, including San Luis Obispo County; however, the declaration only specified that public agencies and certain nonprofits could recover costs related to the storms.
How to get help
A Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open Tuesday in Grover Beach at the Ramona Garden Park Center, 993 Ramona Ave. It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday until further notice.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or going to www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call 800-877-8339.
Applicants may apply online using the electronic loan application on SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is April 4; the deadline for economic injury applications is Nov. 2.