Chris McKinnon, News 9
PRAGUE, Oklahoma -- Officials with the United States Small Business Administration set up a disaster outreach center inside Prague City Hall Thursday morning. It's are offering help to homeowners, renters, business owners and non-profit organizations who suffered damage after November's earthquakes. Officials are encouraging everyone with damage to at least meet with a loan officer who can help walk them through the process.
Applicants must live in Creek, Lincoln, Logan, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Payne or Pottawatomie County to qualify.
"Our federal funds are available to rebuild and recover," said Garth MacDonald, a spokesman with the SBA. " We have people sitting down face to face helping people fill out applications and apply for these loans."
The loans are considered low-interest and break down like this:
Home loan up to $200,000 at 2.063%
Rental loan up to $40,000 at 2.063%
Business loan up to $2million at 4%
Private Non-profit up to $2million at 3%
The SBA said the process is simpler than most people think. After filling out the paperwork either in person, online or over the phone, an official will verify the damages.
"We'll have someone verify their losses," said MacDonald. "Within 14 to 21 days they can have funds and be rebuilding."
While the tone was optimistic at the SBA disaster outreach center, others said borrowing money will not work for them. The Snyder's house was badly damaged in the earthquakes. They now live in a garage at their daughter's house.
"We have a mortgage on that place now," said Jim Snyder, referring to his damaged house. "I'm making payment and I intend to continue to make payments."
He said on a fixed income, they just can't make the payments. Leaving them with more questions than answers at this point as they try to find a way back into their own home.
"Seems like every time we find a step to take, it just kind of comes to a dead end," said Snyder.
It's not just homeowners and small businesses considering the loans through SBA. A representative at Saint Gregory's said the university was considering applying for a loan.
The SBA officials will be at Prague City Hall through December 22 every Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will be back on January 10 until their help is no longer needed. Call 1-800-659-2955 or email the SBA for more information.