As the threat of more flooding looms, the Small Business Administration plans to open three centers in the Baltimore area this week to provide information about disaster loans available to Maryland residents and businesses affected by the first major floods of the season in late May.
The SBA says it will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County on Tuesday to provide information about low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit groups.
The centers are to remain open through Aug. 7, allowing flood victims to apply for loans in person.
Days of rain and flood warnings, and forecasts of more to come, are complicating the decisions of homeowners, residents and businesses in Downtown Ellicott City. The district, built on the Patapsco and Tiber rivers, has been hit by two catastrophic floods in less than two years.
The flood that hit downtown Ellicott City on May 27, the second to strike the historic enclave in less than two years, left one man dead and damaged cars, buildings and infrastructure. Heavy rains left entire floors of homes in Baltimore and Catonsville underwater.
Ellicott City, South Baltimore and Baltimore County bore the brunt of the flooding, but loans will also be available for affected people in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The SBA’s flood assistance comes amid one of the wettest Julys on record. Ellicott City got a scare last week as another series of storms moved through the area. And rain is expected to continue through the week.
Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million from the SBA to cover property damage. The SBA also provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small businesses in need of working capital.
For homeowners, the SBA will provide loans up to $200,000 to go toward damage to real estate. Residents may also apply for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property damaged by flooding.
There are caps on the amounts for which individuals can apply, but no limit on the total amount available through the SBA.
“It’s really important for us to be able to respond to issues, and we can’t be standing there with our hands empty when people come for help,” SBA spokesman Christopher Hatch said.
They are scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The centers will close at 4 p.m. on Aug. 7, their final day.
The SBA made similar loans available to Ellicott City residents and businesses in 2016. The agency approved 16 loans — six for homes and 10 for businesses — for $1.8 million total to assist with flood damage then, spokesman Michael Lampton said
In addition to applying for loans in person at the centers, applicants may also submit requests online at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. Loan applications are typically processed within 21 days, Lampton said.