It's not FEMA, but another government agency helping people flooded out in Lincoln and Jerauld Counties.
On Wednesday, the US Small Business Administration, or SBA, opened up two outreach centers to help disaster victims and a third is in the works.
After the state was denied a request for a major disaster declaration on July 10, the SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster, opening the door for homeowners and businesses to rebuild and recover.
In the library of Canton High School, SBA employees have set up one of two Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. Representatives from across the country are on hand to answer questions and help storm victims complete their applications for low-interest loans.
"We've lived here 20 years and we've never had a catastrophe like this, ever," Gordon Bourne said.
This comes after 90 percent of homes in the Lincoln County city were damaged from record rainfall, among them is Bourne.
"I think that is a help," Bourne said. "I think it is an assistance. I'm sorry to say that it came after the FEMA denial and I'm wondering if it is a knee-jerk reaction."
The water line is still visible one month later in Bourne's yard. With an estimated $30,000 in damages to his flooded basement, he says the 2.1 percent interest rate is attractive.
I think the loan is a great idea.
"We want people to keep their options open," SBA Public Information Officer Garth MacDonald said.
Through SBA, homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 toward their home and $40,000 toward personal property, such as a vehicle, that was damaged in the disaster.
"We just want to make sure that anybody who had damage, whether it is one person in one town or an entire town, we want to make sure that each individual is aware of our program and gets the assistance they need," MacDonald said.
The SBA also opened up an outreach center in Wessington Springs. Next Monday, they will open one in Elk Point. All three outreach centers will stay in town until the end of the month.
The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Jerauld and Lincoln Counties, as well as neighboring counties of Aurora, Beadle, Brule, Buffalo, Clay, Hand, Minnehaha, Sanborn, Turner and Union; and the Iowa counties of Lyon and Sioux.
The Jerauld County Disaster Loan Outreach Center is in the county’s Ag building at 604 2nd Street NE in Wessington Springs. It is open Monday – Friday and closes Thursday, July 31 at 1 p.m.
The Lincoln County Disaster Loan Outreach Center is in the Canton High School at 800 N. Main Street in Canton. It is open Wednesday – Friday and closes Thursday, July 31 at 6 p.m.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail). Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit SBA’s Disaster Assistance web page.
The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is September 12, 2014. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 14, 2015.