State officials said today that the U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a disaster declaration for Carlton, Pine and St. Louis counties and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
The declaration means homeowners, businesses, renters and not-for-profit organizations in those storm and flood damaged areas can apply for low-interest loans. Gov. Dayton made the request earlier this week, following the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial for individual assistance.
Linda Johnson and her husband own a photography business in Thomson that was damaged in the floods. She doesn't know if a loan can help.
"We're not in a position to even want to take out another loan, just because we've been so devastated by this whole thing and it would just be another payment we'd have to make," Johnson said. "On top of not having enough to make it now as it is."
A news release from the state's Homeland Security and Emergency Management office said the federal SBA loans apply to the declared area as well as the surrounding counties of: Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Koochiching and Lake. It also said SBA loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and not-for-profit organizations may apply to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment, inventory and other business assets.
Officials will set up disaster loan outreach centers in several communities.
Rupa Shenoy contributed reporting to this post.