Our view: Money flows, hammers swing for flood recoveryA new campaign brings together Equilibrium3, One Roof Housing, the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Service, Carlton County, St. Louis County, several United Ways, and others to streamline and to make more understandable the process of applying for aid.
Here’s good news for Duluth-area victims of June’s destructive floods: Connecting government assistance and the community’s donations with those who need the cash now to start repairing and rebuilding got a little better coordinated last week with the announcement of “Flood Homes with Hope.” The new campaign brings together Equilibrium3, One Roof Housing, the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Service, Carlton County, St. Louis County, several United Ways, and others to streamline and to make more understandable the process of applying for aid.
The campaign even has “Disaster Case Managers” who are now standing by to offer assistance.
And here’s even better news for flood victims: More than 150 Northland families and individuals, from both Minnesota and Wisconsin, have been approved for loans already, totaling more than $4.2 million. That means hammers are flying. Improvements have begun. And the total is expected to increase to more than $8 million within weeks.
“There’s lots of money flowing,” Flood Homes with Hope’s Drew Digby told the News Tribune Opinion page last week. “It’s time to stop waiting. It’s time to rock and roll.”
That means applying immediately for a low-cost disaster loan from the federal Small Business Association, or SBA. Even if you’re sure you won’t qualify or you can’t afford to pay back a loan, apply anyway online or by calling (800) 659-2955. The application and the SBA’s resulting assessment are needed to qualify for other assistance.
“Denial opens up other options,” is the way the new group put it in a statement last week.
Those options include Minnesota Quickstart loans, which are quite desirable because if you keep living in your house for 10 years they’re forgiven. “(A Quickstart) covers damage that’s not covered by an SBA loan or if you are turned down for an SBA loan,” the release said.
“Our big concern right now is we leave money on the table,” Digby said.
There seems no reason to do that. The assistance is approved — and more than needed. And, now, better-coordinated help is in place to make sure the money gets to where it’s needed most.