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Need Help Paying For Winter Storm Damage? The Deadline To Apply For Federal Aid Is April 20

Patrons sit in restaurant without power caused by cold weather blackouts Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Richardson, Texas.  Temperatures dropped into the single digits as snow shut down air travel and grocery stores.
Patrons sit in restaurant without power caused by cold weather blackouts Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Richardson, Texas. Temperatures dropped into the single digits as snow shut down air travel and grocery stores.

The clock’s ticking to get federal disaster aid from February’s winter storm. The Biden administration is offering grants and low interest loans could help cover losses.

If a business, home or nonprofit suffered more damage than insurance covers, a low-interest federal loan could help close the gap. Susheel Kumar works with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) a government agency that provides disaster assistance.

"Our job is to balance repayment of the tax payer’s money and help rebuild the community — and the definition of community for us is renters, homeowners, private nonprofits, including houses of worship and businesses of all sizes," Kumar said.

Kumar recommends registering first with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which works in tandem with the SBA.

FEMA grants don’t have to be repaid. The SBA offers low interest loans — many with rates from 1.25% to 3%.

Kumar said businesses can get loans of up to $2 million. Renters and homeowners can get loans to replace damaged property and cover housing costs.

"Our role is to provide liquidity when almost everything is absent. Banks don’t compete, credit unions don’t compete, because they don’t have the capacity to lend to a disaster victim because collateral is gone," Kumar said. "And no fees, no points, no closing costs or pre-planned penalty — that type of term structure doesn’t exist in the financial world to assist the needs of the many."

The deadline to apply for an SBA loan is April 20. Kumar said since the February freeze, the SBA has lent about $80 million to North Texans.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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