Financial help is at City Hall for Lufkin tornado victims

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Help has arrived for Lufkin tornado victims.  The Small Business Administration has set up shop at Lufkin City Hall. Applicants could be eligible for low-interest loans to get back on their feet.

From homeowners to renters, businesses and even non-profit organizations, the Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans.  Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for repairs or replacements to their residence. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million for property damage or economic injury.

Edna Coutee needs help and she's hoping to find it at the Small Business Administration's Office.

"The tornado damaged my roof real bad," said Coutee.

She said without a loan, she will have to settle for a make-shift roof.

"It would be a patch job and I really don't want it, but if I have to I'll get it patched back up until I get financially able to get it fixed the way it's supposed to," explained Coutee.

The Small Business Administration is looking to help victims like Coutee.

"We get to offer the people something to give them another way to recover, or some way to assist in recovery after they've had the misfortune of being where the storm hit the worst," said Public Information Officer for Small Business Administration Gary Colton.

Colton said with or without insurance, the group wants to offer aid.

"In many cases, people may not have any homeowners insurance," said Colton.  "We don't look for insurance specifically.  We expect to cover what the difference is."

Coutee's neighbor, who also has a tornado-damaged home, said they may take advantage of the opportunity in town.

"I think that was awesome," said Tara Releford.  "I think they did a good thing because everybody needs some help."

"This is really a disaster, it really is and everybody lost something," said Releford.

The process is straightforward. Colton said you can't get help if you don't apply.

"Every loan application is considered individually based on your ability to repay the loan," said Colton.

For some, that could mean qualifying for a loan with an interest rate as low as 2.6 percent and paying it out over up to 30 years.

"It's a wonderful feeling to know there's people out there that cares," smiled Coutee.  "Come to City Hall Rm. 202.  There's a place that will help you."

Applying won't cost anything, so don't wait for an insurance settlement. If you qualify for a loan you don't necessarily have to accept it.

You can also call Small Business Administration for more information at (800) 659-2955.  You can also go to their website.

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