Small Business Administration to help flood-affected people

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SBA representatives will help business owners affected by historic summer flooding apply for loans from the Urban League of St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis-area business owners are receiving much-needed help, after historic flooding this summer damaged many of their livelihoods.

The Small Business Administration, SBA, opened a recovery center at the Urban League of St. Louis on Monday.

It’s help that business owners say they want and desperately need.

Melissa Ingram must relive every lost item the floodwaters have washed away her business, as she seeks to apply for an SBA loan.

“It’s very difficult. I can’t do this every day, but I try my best,” Ingram said.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 26, nearly four feet of water filled Ingram’s belongings, Issa Lifestyle STL.

After the water was gone, all that was left was torn outlets and remnants of decorations on the wall.

“I’m still listing all that was lost and I realize it’s way more than I thought,” Ingram said.

“Temporarily closed” signs still hang outside her business, as she does not know when she will be able to reopen.

Now the few things that were saved from the flood are stuck in Ingram’s living room.

“It’s all in my house now, because I can’t really afford storage, I pretty much have to start over,” she said.

Ingram is not alone, however.

Many business owners were ready for help Monday afternoon as they waited for the Small Business Administration to open its recovery center in Urban League in Saint Louis.

SBA public information officer Susheel Kumar said the recovery center is there to meet the needs of business owners.

“The need is dire. The need is great. We want to get to work and help as many residents, homeowners, renters and business owners get the help they need,” he said.

SBA representatives helped business owners apply for loans.

According to Kumar, the center focuses on helping with physical harm and economic harm.

“Basically a Q&A, just a gentle conversation about the damage, and overall we’ve put together a package that we’re buying into,” he said.

Businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to make repairs and replace assets.

Once the application is complete and approved, Kumar said, owners could see that money in about 30 days.

“Please come talk to us. Let’s help as soon as possible,” he said.

All of this help is completely free and no appointment is required.

If you’re a business owner, who also suffered damage to your home or apartment, Kumar said, they can help you too.

Businesses in the Missouri counties of St. Charles, St. Louis, and St. Louis City can apply for physical and economic injury loans.

Businesses in Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Warren can only apply for economic injury loans.

Businesses in the Illinois counties of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair can only apply for economic injury loans.

The deadline for filing bodily injury claims is Friday, October 7, 2022.

The deadline for filing claims for economic harm is Monday, May 8, 2023.

SBA representatives will be at Urban League on North Kingshighway Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., for the foreseeable future.

For business owners who cannot make it to the recovery center, you can apply online here.

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