Disaster loans available for Western WA businesses hit by January flooding

Federal relief will soon be available for families and businesses affected by January's severe storm.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Wednesday that low-interest disaster loans will become available for Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Yakima counties. Applications will open on Thursday, Feb. 17.

A severe winter storm swept through the Pacific Northwest on Jan. 7, flooding roads, destroying homes and claiming lives.

Pacific Northwest storm causes major flooding, slides, closes roads

Snow and rain continued to fall across the Pacific Northwest on Friday, forcing the closure of parts of Washington state’s two major highways — Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 — and causing flooding that swamped roads and closed schools in parts of Oregon.

Cleanup efforts are still ongoing in counties like Grays Harbor, which were submerged in floodwaters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made federal assistance available for families in Skagit and Whatcom counties.

"SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Washington’s small businesses and residents impacted by the winter weather and flooding," said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman. "We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild."

Businesses and private nonprofits of all sizes can apply to borrow up to $2 million for repairs, replacing damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other assets.

Property owners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property.

The SBA says it can lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners for improvements to protect their properties from future flooding.

"Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster," said SBA’s Western Operations Director Tanya N. Garfield. "The [Disaster Loan Outreach Center] will be open on the days and times indicated below. No appointment is necessary."

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center is located in the Lewis County Courthouse in Chehalis, 351 NW North St., Room 121. Hours are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. The office will be closed for President’s Day on Feb. 21.

Interest rates are a minimum of 2.83% for businesses, 1.875% for private nonprofits, and 1.438% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Rates are set based on applicants’ financial conditions.

People can apply for loans on the SBA website, by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for property damages is Apr. 18, 2022; the deadline for economic injury is Nov. 15, 2022.

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RELATED: Federal assistance available to people affected by flood damage

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