Ellis County residents affected by the severe flooding last month are now eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans to help recover from the damage.

According to a press release, the U.S. Small Business Administration declared the storms a weather disaster in response to written requests received by Gov. Greg Abbott last week.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Tarrant, Sutton and Ellis Counties for storm damage that occurred between Sept. 21-23. Midlothian Police Capt. John Spann said the most affected areas throughout Ellis County include Midlothian, Oak Leaf and Red Oak.

“Residents will be able to apply for those to mediate any flood damage that they had,” Spann said.

SBA outreach began Tuesday, Oct. 23 throughout the previously mentioned counties, where representatives would be available to explain the disaster loan program and the application process. No appointment is necessary to visit one of the Disaster Loan Outreach Centers.

According to a press release, businesses and nonprofit organizations could borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property and equipment. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property, while $40,000 loans are available to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Spann said the disaster loans are a reliable option for homeowners who don’t have flood insurance. Many residents lived in no-flood zones and didn’t have flood insurance, as he pointed out to one house on Shady Grove Road by Waxahachie Creek.

“The people had applied for it, but they were five days out from it taking effect,” he explained. “Of course the insurance companies denied any type of claim because it hadn’t gone into effect yet.”

The county previously had to meet a damage threshold of $565,525.80 to receive federal assistance. While Ellis County Fire Marshal Tim Birdwell was pleased the SBA disaster loans were approved, he said the county is still working on getting public assistance for roads, bridges, streets and government buildings.

“We have to meet a state threshold of $36 or 37 million statewide,” Birdwell said. “At that time, we were right around $21-22 million at the state. And that’s in order for us to get public assistance.”

SBA interest rates can be as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and two percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. The press release states that loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Texas with the most effective and customer-focused response possible,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “We will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster.”

The deadline to apply for property damage is Dec. 17, while the deadline to apply for economic injury is July 18, 2019.

Applicants can apply for a disaster loan online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.


David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX