Allen Joins Residents and Local Officials To Announce Help for Victims of Devastating Floods
Assistance Will Provide Low-Interest Small Business Administration Loans
Just two weeks after inspecting flood damage to Battery Park in Richmond with community leaders and the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan, Senator George Allen (R-VA) today was pleased to return to announce the availability of federal assistance through the Small Business Administration (SBA). During a morning visit, Senator Allen was joined by concerned residents and community leaders such as Lucille Green, President of the Battery Park Civic Association, William Harrell, Mayor Wilder's Chief Administrative Officer, and Herb Mitchell, SBA Associate Administrator for Disaster Assistance.
Battery Park, which is home to 7,500 residents, experienced heavy flooding and damage from mud and silt following Tropical Depression Ernesto on September 3, 2006. The devastating storm did an estimated $39 million in damage to the community. At the time, Senator Allen immediately called for the type of disaster assistance that he announced today.
"Hundreds of individual Virginians suffered as a result of this storm and I am pleased to announce that the SBA has approved our request for low-interest loans for these folks," Senator Allen said during his second visit to Battery Park this month. "The availability of low-interest loans from the SBA will indeed make it possible for victims of this flooding to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. I am very pleased to join my fellow Virginians in welcoming this vital assistance."
But Senator Allen remains concerned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied requests for emergency assistance. In a letter on October 12, 2006, he called on FEMA to provide individual assistance to those affected by Tropical Depression Ernesto. This request was denied, appealed, and denied again. He, along with Governor Kaine, then turned to request assistance for Virginians from the Small Business Administration, and they have agreed to offer disaster assistance to those affected by the storm.
"Herb Mitchell and the folks at SBA are making this process so much easier by not only providing phone numbers and email addresses, but allowing those in need to discuss their concerns with a human being. I'm disappointed that FEMA has denied our requests for individual assistance, but I'm very pleased to see how the SBA has so quickly offered their support to these flood victims. As a result, some of the homeowners here may have a lower rate on their mortgage after the flooding than they did before because of these loan offers.
"I'm looking at every way possible to help out Virginians and this is very positive in this regard. Flood mitigation assistance is also vital in making sure that this flooding issue is resolved and the communities prone to flooding in the Richmond area and across the Commonwealth are able to prevent this kind of disaster in the future. I will do all that I can to help folks get back on their feet as quickly as possible."