SBA offers low-interest loans to flood victims

SBA offers low-interest loans to flood victims

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans to help those affected by the June floods get back on their feet.

FEMA funding was declined for the area, but now the Small Business Administration is offering loans to business owners, home owners and renters in the Lawton area. Those loans can be as low as 1.625% interest for home owners and 4% interest for businesses.

Those interested in applying should drop by the Prairie Building at the Comanche County Fairgrounds. The application is free and should take less than an hour to fill out.

"Please come. We're here to help, and the quicker you come, the quicker we'll get you back on your feet," said Susheel Kumar, public information officer for the Small Business Administration.

That help is exactly what Antonio Wright is hoping for. Wright says he lost everything in the flood that wreaked havoc on several Lawton neighborhoods June 12.

"I've got three kids, none of us have a bed, none of us have dresser. I've got probably five changes of clothes, two pairs of shoes, and just seeing my kids…they don't really know what is really happening yet and me being a parent, I do know and it's kind of breaking me a part right now. It really is," Wright said.

Kumar says the Small Business Administration is working to help people, like Wright, by offering the one thing they need most in times of disaster.

"The single biggest impediment to recovery is lack of funds. That's where we come in. We are the largest resource available in the community to repair, recover, replenish post disaster. We're there to make sure the folks affected have the money to get back on their feet and return them back to where they were prior to the disaster," Kumar said.

Kumar says they use a model called cash flow to determine the amount and length of each loan. It essentially measures what is left over from a person's income after they pay their expenses.

"It's our desire to help as many as possible, so we don't put out a set number because a set number throws off the whole notion that we're here to help," Kumar explained.

Wright says with all of the difficulties in his life from the flooding, he is truly in need of assistance and was hoping for FEMA assistance rather than a long-term loan that he is unsure if he can pay back.

"I don't know where to go from here. I was just forced from my house I was in, I'm in an area I'm unfamiliar with. I don't know where to turn at from here," Wright said.

Kumar says he understands the frustration. He says the SBA will do its best to help every single person who comes through the door, even if they feel a loan isn't the best option.

"If we're not able to assist, there are other agencies that the State of Oklahoma will recommend them to and/or they could seek resources for, to seek sums of money they are looking to rebuild their lives with," Kumar said.

Kumar says the SBA is offering same-day approvals. If you are approved, your home or business will be inspected within four days and you should have your money within three business weeks.

The Small Business Administration will be at the Prairie Building at the Comanche County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. every Monday through Saturday, until at least June 23.

You can learn more about SBA disaster loans here.

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