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Have flood damage? The SBA has low-interest loans to help businesses and homeowners

Flash floodwaters strand cars on Lindell Boulevard near Vandeventer Avenue. in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis.
Sarah Kellogg
St. Louis Public Radio
Flash floodwaters on July 28 stranded cars on Lindell Boulevard near Vandeventer Avenue in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis.

Business owners and residents in St. Louis, St. Louis and St. Charles counties can apply for low-interest federal loans to help cover uninsured losses from last month’s flash flooding.

The Small Business Administration offers home, business and economic injury disaster loans to help pay for losses that federal grants or insurance will not cover.

Most people are unaware of how much water damage can cost a business owner or homeowner, SBA spokesperson Sushell Kumar said.

“One inch of water can cause as much as $25,000 in damages, and that's on the homeowner's side,” Kumar said. “On the business side, one in four businesses that stay closed for the first five days post disaster has a 90% probability of failure.”

Through the SBA:

  • Business owners, including private nonprofit owners, are eligible for up to $2 million in loans to replace damaged property, equipment, inventory or other business assets.
  • Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence.
  • Homeowners or renters can borrow up to $40,000 for repairs to personal property.
  • Interest rates for homeowners or renters are as low as 1.68%. Rates for private nonprofit owners will be as low as 1.87% and 2.93% for business owners. Borrowers must pay back disaster loans within 30 years. 

People without insurance who are interested in a federal disaster loan must first apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website. People with uninsured flood damage that is not covered by FEMA can apply for a low-interest SBA loan to make repairs.

SBA agents will then perform a credit check and assess the damage. An appraiser will visit the site, and based on the damage will determine how much an applicant may potentially borrow.

SBA loans will be issued within four weeks of an approved application.

“If you don't have insurance, then the SBA is your source of recovery, rehabilitation or repair,” Kumar said.

Last month’s floods caused damage to more than 750 homes and over 130 businesses. Officials estimated at least $35 million of uninsured property damage and emergency response costs.

Missouri business owners in Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln and Warren counties can apply for a disaster loan if their company lost business because of flooding. Business owners in the Illinois counties of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair can also apply for an economic disaster loan.

The devastation of property loss is great in the St. Louis region, and low-interest loans can help families and businesses quickly get back on their feet, SBA spokesperson Rae Logan said.

“If you have $100,000 worth of damage, and the insurance company gives you $25,000, then our loans can help fill that gap,” Logan said.

People whose homes or businesses were damaged have until Oct. 7 to apply for aid, and those who have suffered an economic loss have until May 8, 2023, to apply for a federal economic injury loan.

Businesses and homeowners also may apply for mitigation loans to improve their properties to help protect them from future floods.

Additionally, the American Red Cross of Missouri is providing pop-up resource centers for flood victims to help with legal services, food stamps and other disaster information.

People can also contact the United Way at 211 for assistance with housing, food and health or child care.

St. Louis and St. Louis County residents and business owners who need more resources to help with flood damages should visit here.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story misstated how the SBA will determine how much an applicant may potentially borrow. After SBA agents assess the damage, an appraiser will visit the site to make that determination.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.

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