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Pike County Emergency Management officials hopeful as SBA loans target January flood victims

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT
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BELFRY, Ky. (WYMT) - The New Year fireworks were dampened this year for many in the Pike County area after floodwater poured through, leaving portions of the Belfry area underwater by the first morning of January.

“You know, it’s really tough, having been there from the time when we’re rescuing folks out of homes- when the water is up around their homes or in their homes- to the point where you’re going back, doing damage assessment once the water goes down,” said Pike County Emergency Management Director Nee Jackson.

With months of work and rebuilding, many of the homeowners, renters, and businesses in the areas impacted are still trying to plan or pay for the fixes. So, in an effort to help, the U.S. Small Business Administration stepped in, offering low-interest loans for qualifying applicants in the areas hit hardest.

“You know it’s not like saying ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ There’s no guarantee that everybody qualifies for this, but at least there is a program out there that possibly can help folks that are in a pinch.”

Applications for assistance opened online and through next week, SBA workers set up a Kentucky Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Belfry Volunteer Fire Department. Jackson said the loans could get homeowners up to $200,000 in loans, with a 1.43% interest rate over the next 30 years, could help homeowners and renters with up to $40,000 in replacing personal items, and help local businesses that were impacted by the unexpected flooding this winter.

“I’ve talked to some folks that talked about maxing out credit cards and talks of people possibly filing bankruptcy. This will give them an opportunity, if they qualify, to be able to get some relief and possibly get some payments to where they can handle them and it’s not a great burden on them,” Jackson said.

Since he was informed the county would not qualify for FEMA funding, after refiling a second time, he said the department is actively looking into more options for specialty circumstances or those who may not qualify for the SBA assistance. Still, with the help he is seeing come in, he is hopeful that there is an answer out there for every one in need.

“There are some things that are available and if people don’t apply they don’t they’ll never know if they if they’re going to qualify,” Jackson said.

Impacted individuals do not need to visit the help center, since applications are open online. But anyone who would like to be walked through the process, or find out if they qualify, can visit the fire department through June 2.

The space is open Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. No one will be available on Memorial Day, but they will return Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Next Thursday is the last day to receive application assistance, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Pike County Emergency Management will continue to post other possible assistance programs on its Facebook page.

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