Deep East Texans eligible for disaster loan program

Deep East Texans eligible for disaster loan program
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The rain is gone and the threat of flooding seems to be over for now, which has given local business owners the chance to step back and assess the damage left behind.

For Shannon Allen, of Carolyn's Florist in Lufkin, the severe rain took its toll on her business.

"We lost two days of complete business. Some of our employees were not able to work, we had no electricity, no power, we had water in our building, and we lost flowers because the coolers were down," Allen said.

From the lost plants to the asphalt of the parking lot being washed away, Allen said if she had to estimate a dollar amount of damage, it would be around $5,000. It's an amount is a loss she initially assumed her business wouldn't recover, but with the help of a disaster assistance program offered by the Small Business Administration that may not be the case.

"Angelina County was just recently included in the declaration from the storms that occurred before, and so that's why I'm here, to make sure that people know that the SBA disaster assistance section has low-interest loans available, not only for businesses, but for homeowners and renters," said David Reetz, a public information officer for the Small Business Administration.

And the program goes beyond just physical damage.

"For example, if you've got some folks that have a retail store, and they didn't have any damage themselves, but say the road was washed out that led to their business and therefore their business declined. So there's a whole other set of loans that can apply to businesses that did not have any physical damage but their business was impacted," Reetz said.

Reetz said small businesses are eligible for up to $2 million in loans. Homeowners are eligible for up to $200,000 for homeowners, and renters can qualify for up to $40,000- good news for small businesses like Carolyn's Florist.

"Two days of losing business to some is not that big a deal, but for a small business who struggles and tries to make their money just day-to-day, that is a big hit for us, so yeah we would definitely be interested," Allen said.

Reetz said the deadline to apply for a disaster loan has been extended to August 27th and the decision process usually takes between two to three weeks.

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