The U.S. Small Business Administration has agreed to accept applications for low-interest loans of up to $200,000 for both businesses and homeowners who need to repair property damaged by the terrible December flooding in San Bernardino County, Congressman Jerry Lewis said Thursday.
"I am grateful to the SBA for offering to step in to help homeowners who have been struggling to recover from floods that left many houses unlivable and many of my constituents wondering how they would pay for repairs," Lewis said. "I urge the agency to move quickly to approve qualified loans so these folks may return to their homes and lives as soon as possible."
The SBA decision to grant the disaster relief loans comes in the wake of President Obama declaring the December floods a major disaster for many California counties, including San Bernardino and Riverside. The president's declaration cleared the way for public agencies -- cities, counties, special districts and certain non-profit organizations -- to receive a 75 percent reimbursement from the federal government for the costs of dealing with the floods and the damage they caused to public infrastructure. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined that the level of damage to private property was not sufficient to approve federal disaster assistance to private individuals.
Qualified homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to cover replacement of vehicles, clothing, furniture and other items damaged in the floods. They may apply for up to $200,000 to repair damage to their homes and property, but cannot use the funds to upgrade their property. The interest rate may be as low as 4 percent, with a repayment period of up to 30 years.