SBA disaster loan center opening

Independence Drive was transformed to Independence Creek temporarily by the July 20 storm that produced flash flooding in the greater Lockport area. (US&J file photo)

A disaster loan outreach center is opening today in Lockport to assist businesses and residents affected by the severe storm and flash flooding that struck in Niagara County on July 20. Assistance will take the form of low-interest disaster loans, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced on Monday.

The temporary outreach center at Niagara County Emergency Management, 5574 Niagara Street Extension, will be open through Sept. 24. The hours today only are noon to 6 p.m.  Beginning Wednesday, the hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Customer service representatives will answer questions about the loan program and assist individuals completing their applications.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace storm/flood-damaged real estate and business assets. Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate, and/or up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for mitigation improvements such as a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain, or retaining wall.

SBA made the loans available in response to a letter from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who requested a disaster declaration. The declaration covers Niagara County and adjacent Erie, Genesee and Orleans counties, SBA said.

Loan applicants can apply online at: DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s (under SBA declaration #17161). For more information and paper application forms, call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov, or go to: sba.gov/disaster .

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 8. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 9, 2022.

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