The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced they will be closing the Washington County field office for Labor Day weekend at the close of business Thursday and won't re-open till next Tuesday.
But the agency is going to make up for the two missed days by staying open two additional days until September 6 to give more folks time to apply for SBA loans.
The process is going to take some time because it can take a week or two to get approved after applying.
Home and business loan applicant may be eligible for other types of assistance like grant money if they cannot be approved for an SBA loan.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is making low-interest loans available for flood victims who qualify and that amount can add up according to Richard Daigle of the SBA.
”Homeowners can borrow $200,000 for their real estate and an additional $40,000 on top of that for their personal contents,” Daigle said. “A renter can borrow up to $40,000 and a business owner up to $2 million. All of this at low-interest rates."
Shirley Crowe was in Gatlinburg when the floods hit her Johnson City home. Her son called and told her to sit down before he gave her the news.
Her home was flooded in spite of a retaining wall built by a fellow church member long ago to keep three or four feet of water out of her home. "When he came he said, 'Shirley, a burm is not going to do it. You are going to have to build a wall,'” Crowe recalled. “My husband had passed away so my church, Harrison Christian church came and built this wall. It had helped and we never had more water until they had the big flood."
Even the wall wouldn't work this time -- Ms. Crowe ended up with 61 inches of water in her basement. It was about two feet from entering the main level of the house when the water went down.
"I had to do a new heat pump. I lost my washer, my dryer, refrigerator and a freezer,” Crowe counted. “One of the men in my church came and fixed my hot water heater so I can have hot water until I get one."
It can take up to a couple of weeks to find out if applicants like Ms. Crowe qualify for their loan. In the meantime she is being helped, like many others, by the people in her community
If applicants who suffered flood damage qualify for a loan through the SBA they will be required to carry flood insurance to get the money.