SBA to Offer Loans to Those Impacted by Yellowstone Flooding
Following a presidential disaster declaration by Joe Biden last week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has started offering loans to homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits impacted by the recent flooding in Yellowstone.
Loans for uninsured physical and economic damage are available for people in Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties in Montana, and for economic damage loans in Big Horn, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Meagher, Sweet Grass, and Yellowstone counties in Montana and Big Horn and Park counties in Wyoming.
Rick Tillery, public information officer with the SBA, said in an email that homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 in repairs and businesses can borrow up to $2 million for property and/or economic injury.
Tillery said loans for economic injury allow businesses that have had a decrease in revenue due to the disaster to supplement their expenses through a loan from the federal government.
"Just, for example, a hotel that's in Park County, that basically had to shut down as a result of this disaster, and had to cancel all their incoming reservations. They are suffering from a capital loss due to this disaster," Tillery said. "They can apply for this low-interest disaster loan to help supplement their capital expenses...That provides working capital to businesses who are suffering because of a disaster and I use the example of a hotel, but it's fishing guides, it's anything like a tour guide or anything that's suffering because of the disaster can apply for this program through the SBA."
Tillery said because the program launched recently, he hasn't seen any numbers come in from anyone, he doesn't know how long the SBA will be there, and he doesn't know how many people will end up applying.
The loans for physical injury are open until Aug. 29 and the economic injury ones are open until March 30, 2023.
The terms of the loans will vary, though interest rates are fixed based on the type of loan that people are requesting, whether they are homeowners, businesses, or nonprofits.
While Tillery said the amount of money needed will depend on people's situation, for something like Hurricane Ida, a total of $1.3 billion was requested from the SBA, while the Marshal fire in Boulder, Colorado required $103 million.
The repairs going on in Yellowstone are being handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The damage to roadways in and around Yellowstone could take years and over $1 billion to repair, though assessments are still being done to figure out the total scope and cost.
Tillery said it's unlikely people won't be able to pay back the loan, as they do a detailed look into a person's ability to repay loans.
"We take a very deep dive on individuals when we do these disaster loans. By law, we have to make sure that somebody can pay it back," Tillery said. "These are not grants, these are not gifts, these are loans that must be repaid, so we have to do our due diligence to make sure that an individual or a business can repay those loans...we look at credit reports, we look at payment histories, we look at assets, we look at liabilities, we look at profit projections for businesses. So it is a very wide-ranging and deep look when we approve these loans. That's why we really can't say how long it's going to take to get approved because we don't know. It's something our loan officers in Texas have to go through and look at every single piece of information that they can find to make sure that an individual or a business can repay the loan."
Tillery said he could not share information on how many loans get denied.