Deadline Looms for Federal Ida Loans as Wilmington Still Pushes for Disaster Declaration | The latest news from WDEL

Homeowners and tenants in New Castle County who suffered damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida in September have until December 17 to apply for federal loan assistance.

New Castle County has not received a disaster declaration from FEMA or the Small Business Administration despite extensive damage along the record-swollen Brandywine Creek, which inundated many of the townhouses in northeast Wilmington, as well as damage to apartments upstream from Brandywine Park.

FEMA presidential disasters have been declared in the border counties of Gloucester in New Jersey, Chester and Delaware in Pennsylvania, and an SBA administrative declaration has been issued for Cecil in Maryland.

Being a county connected to a FEMA statement allows small businesses and nonprofits in New Castle County to apply for an economic disaster loan that would be valued at the assessed amount of damage or $ 2 million, depending on the. lowest amount.

The fact that Delaware was not declared a FEMA disaster area by President Biden meant that homeowners and tenants could not take advantage of FEMA grants that would have covered basic needs to bring homes up to standard or to upgrade. live in an apartment during repairs.

Willie Patrick, the City of Wilmington’s Emergency Management Officer, told Wilmington City Council this week that after meeting with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, he believed there were reasons why Delaware’s request for subsidy assistance was rejected.

“The extent of the disaster was in a small, concentrated area, the extent of the damage, the property to rental ratio and the amount of uninsured losses.”

Patrick said they were working with DEMA and the governor’s office, which ultimately must apply to FEMA, to bolster New Castle County’s case for a delayed declaration.

“We’re going to do a virtual damage assessment and hopefully include some areas or properties that were not included in the original claim. We’ll see if that’s enough to change your mind. [FEMA] Region 3. “

A FEMA statement would have allowed for federal grants, but when they declined Delaware’s offer, it was the Small Business Administration that handles disaster loans for homeowners, despite the group’s name. .

Disaster loans are available up to $ 200,000 for homeowners to repair or replace their properties, while homeowners and tenants can borrow up to $ 40,000 to repair or replace property damaged by the. storm.

In addition, applicants can also request an increase of up to 20% in their physical damage to cover mitigation strategies.

Mary Cook of the SBA offered suggestions on what others have done with mitigation loans, which she says can pay 6 times the investment if a disaster repeats.

“You can seal the roof terrace, raise the structure, install a sump pump, get out of a flood plan, or develop your property to improve runoff. “

Interest rates for homeowner / tenant disaster loans are as low as 1.563%, with private nonprofits getting a rate of 2% and other businesses at 2.855%.

“We are different from regular lenders in that the interest rate stays for the life of the loan. As long as the SBA has it, the interest rate will not change. We can stretch payments up to 30 years for help make payments affordable. ”

Residents of New Castle County who wish to take advantage of disaster loans will need to hurry, as the deadline to apply for a physical damage loan is December 17, 2021.

You can apply online on the SBA website and must apply under SBA 17229/17230, both related to the Cecil County Disaster Declaration.

Biden has approved New Castle County as a disaster area for Ida’s private nonprofits.

These entities, including food kitchens, homeless shelters and community centers, can apply for a loan equal to the damage, up to $ 2 million.

To apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan assistance, businesses, nonprofits, landlords and tenants must Click here or contact the SBA Customer Service Center by phone: 1.800.659.2955 or by emailing [email protected]