KATHLEEN, Fla. - Thousands of people in Polk County who were impacted by tornadoes that touched down in October now have an opportunity to get some much-needed financial relief as they continue to recover.
Local businesses and residents impacted by the destruction can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
On October 18, a EF-2 tornado damaged at least 50 homes, tearing the roof off of Kathleen Middle School and even picking up an RV before dropping it on top of a boat parked in a driveway. For some, the destruction caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, if not more. In early November, FOX 13 learned that the last remaining dairy in Polk County may close after losing cows and equipment in the tornado.
One month after the tornado touched down, not only are many still dealing with damage to their properties, but a lot of local businesses have also taken a hit to their bottom line as they struggle to recover.
According to an announcement from Polk County’s Emergency Management Division, beginning on November 15, the Salvation Army at 2620 Kathleen Road in Lakeland will host an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center. SBA staffers will be present to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help homeowners and business owners complete their applications through Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
Hours are below:
Friday, Nov. 15 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 26 Closes at 4 p.m.
There is a three-step process for getting a low-interest disaster relief loan through the SBA. First, you have to apply. Homeowners can borrow as much as $200,000 to repair or replace their homes. Business owners may borrow up to $2 million. The second step in the process is for the SBA to check your credit before running an inspection to verify your losses. Then, the administration will decide whether to approve your loan. Finally, you’ll receive your disaster relief money within five days of sending in your signed loan closing papers.
To get started, there are several documents you’ll need. If you’re a homeowner, you need the Home Loan Application (SBA Form 5c) completed and signed, along with IRS Form 4506-T, completed and signed.
If you own a business, it gets a little more complicated. For this, you’ll need five things:
• Business Loan Application (SBA Form 5)
• IRS Form 4506-T
• Complete copies of the most recent federal income tax returns
• Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413)
• Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202 may be used).
There are several ways you can apply for assistance. Business owners and homeowners may apply online, by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Application filing deadlines for these SBA loans will be Jan. 13, 2020 for physical damages to property and August 13, 2020 for economic injury.