Feds Offer Minnesota Counties Financial Relief After Storms
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Feds Offer Minnesota Counties Financial Relief After Storms

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest loans to residents affected by storms in several counties in central Minnesota.

Two months after fierce storms ravaged dozens of homes and businesses in central Minnesota, the federal government is stepping in with disaster relief. On Tuesday, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) announced that it will provide low-interest loans for Douglas County residents and businesses who were affected by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in late May. The agency is extending the loan program to residents in the adjacent counties of Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, and Todd.

Residents and business owners don’t have to wait for their insurance claims to clear before applying for loans, according to the SBA. Repairs can be made in the meantime, and when insurance settles, borrowers pay SBA back any remaining amount.

“A lot of people are waiting for their insurance to settle,” an SBA spokesperson said. “We help them get started.”

In a separate announcement on Tuesday, the SBA said that it will provide similar relief for residents in Morrison County affected by storms and flooding in late June. On Thursday, the SBA officially opened established a disaster loan outreach center in Alexandria to provide assistance in applying for the program.

The amounts given in each loan vary for residents and businesses. According to the SBA, homeowners can receive loans of up to $200,000 to repair real estate and $40,000 to repair personal property. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program. It’s open to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations.

The SBA opened up the loan programs after Gov. Tim Walz issued an emergency declaration in the wake of the storms. In Douglas County alone, storms hit as many as 100 homes in late May, The New York Times reported at the time.