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You can now apply for federal loans after February’s flood

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- A disaster loan outreach center is open for the next week in Berrien Springs so flood victims can find out if they’re eligible for federal loans. 

“We offer low-interest rate loans to homeowners, businesses, economic injury loans, renters, and for personal property,” said Ann Mahone with the Small Business Disaster Assistance Program.

Representatives from the Office of Disaster Assistance set up shop in Berrien County on Tuesday after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a disaster following February’s historic flooding.

Flood victims in Berrien, Cass, La Porte and St. Joseph (IN) counties are among several area counties eligible for the loans.

You can stop by a pop-up shop at the Berrien RESA building in Berrien Springs until next Tuesday to find out if your flood damage – and income – is enough to qualify for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

“We take the application and we submit it to our processing center,” Mahone said. “Hopefully the turnaround time is going to be 30 days or less.”

Once the application is processed, you find out by mail if you qualify.

Mahone said if you do, an SBA worker will then either visit your property to assess the damage or speak with you about it by phone.

The maximum loans available range from $2 million for businesses to $200,000 for homes and $40,000 for personal property. Non-profits and other organizations can also qualify.

Interest rates range from 1.8% - 3.6% for home loans and between 3.6% and 7.2% for business loans.

People with or without flood insurance can apply.

You get the loan if your income and ability to repay it line up with program guidelines.

“Oftentimes, people – after something like this happens –they don’t know where to go,” Mahone said. “And these loans are – the interest rate is very reasonable, as I said before, and the term of the loan can be up to 30 years.”

The loans are given out on a case-by-case basis, so it’s really beneficial to stop by the center to apply.

If you apply and are declined, you have six months to appeal.

Remaining hours are April 4 from 9am-6pm, April 5 from 9 a.m. -6 p.m., April 6 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., April 7 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.,  closed April 8, April 9 from 9 a.m. -6 p.m. and April 10 from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The address of the center is 711 St. Joseph Avenue, Berrien Springs, MI (The Berrien RESA building – park in the back and enter through the conference center doors).

You can also apply online by clicking here.

If you’re a homeowner or renter, you only need to bring essential information to apply (address, Social Security number, etc.)

If you’re a business owner, you need to bring more extensive documentation: 2017 tax return, property law statements, schedule of liabilities, personal financial statements, etc.

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