Deadline looms for flood recovery loansAlmost four months after the flood of 2012, some Duluth residents still aren’t home.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Almost four months after the flood of 2012, some Duluth residents still aren’t home.
“I know of people that are camping in their front yard in a tent or in a camper,” said Cliff Knettel, deputy director of the nonprofit 1 Roof Community Housing. “I know of people that have moved in with relatives. I know of people that are living in unsafe conditions waiting for something to happen.”
Knettel said 15 households in Duluth that he’s aware of are still effectively homeless because of the June 19-20 flood.
That’s just a slice of a continuing problem across a much larger region.
“About 200 people are camping in their homes in one way or another” overall, said Drew Digby, regional long-term recovery coordinator for the Flood Homes With Hope campaign.
With winter approaching, Digby and Knettel said they’re concerned about people who still are living in the cold, or with inadequate heating in their homes.
But a deadline is approaching as well: Monday is the last day Northland families can apply for federal low-interest disaster recovery loans through the Small Business Administration.
QuickStart loans from the state are available, but applicants first must seek an SBA loan before being eligible for the state loan.
The SBA has awarded nearly $1.4 million in loans for every 100 homeowners who have applied, Digby said, and an equal amount has come via QuickStart loans. Based on those numbers, another 129 applications would bring another $3 million into the region, he said.
Digby said he believes a significant number of people who may be eligible still haven’t applied. For that reason, Flood Homes With Hope again will staff three help centers this Saturday to help walk flood survivors through the process.
The loans can be significant: up to $200,000 for real property damage and up to $40,000 for personal property damage.
Not all applicants get SBA loans. Digby said of the 388 applications that had been completed as of this week, 200 had been approved. But Digby and Knettel said the QuickStart loans generally are approved unless the applicant is behind on property taxes, behind on mortgage payments or lacks homeowner’s insurance. Even in those cases, Knettel said, his agency will work with applicants to get caught up.
“We haven’t really denied anybody outright,” Knettel said.
To get help
People needing help to apply for federal flood disaster loans may visit one of the following locations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday:
Anyone who wants to make sure a disaster case manager will work with them should call (218) 499-9480 or register under the “Get Help”
section at FloodHomesWithHope.org.
Or apply at SBA.gov or (800) 659-2955. If you are hard of hearing, call (800) 877-8339.