Mitzi Guhy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First United Methodist Church in Mayfield, visited the SBA Business Recovery Center in Benton. The SBA has set up field operations in Western Kentucky to guide people through the process of applying for a low interest disaster loan.
“We kind of learn on the fly,” she said. “And obviously none of us had ever experienced something like this.”
A tornado destroyed the church, which was over 100 years old. And Guhy said it was difficult to know what to do in the aftermath of the storms, especially since some of their records were destroyed in the tornado and rain the following days.
With still spotty internet and phone service, it was easier for Guhy to come to Benton and get help from an SBA employee.
She said they were looking for “any help that may come”.
“Because, obviously, with a church as old as ours, building materials will be very difficult to replace,” Guhy said. “It was a limestone church structure, with six large columns in the front… rebuilding it as it was, will be extremely expensive. And although we have had insurance, it will not cover the complete loss. “
Low interest disaster loans through the SBA are available for both physical damage and economic loss due to tornadoes.
According to an SBA disaster loan fact sheet for Kentucky, these long-term disaster loans can also be used to relocate; the amount of these loans “depends on whether you move voluntarily or involuntarily”.
Businesses and nonprofits located in federally declared disaster areas can obtain loans of up to $ 2 million.
Homeowners can get up to $ 200,000 for “repair or replacement of real property” and up to $ 40,000 for damaged personal property.
Tenants are eligible for loans of up to $ 40,000 to help them replace or repair their personal property.
“So despite being the Small Business Administration, we have a different job and mission during major disasters, and that is to partner with FEMA and help disaster survivors through major disasters. ‘long-term disaster recovery,’ Sally, the SBA’s public information manager. Graham, who has been on location in western Kentucky, said.
“I have met business leaders who have seen what they have dedicated themselves to being destroyed,” she continued. “I’ve seen landlords and tenants think there is no hope and no way forward. “
She urged people not to wonder if they were of quality or if they worried about the collection of documents: “Disaster relief is available, and the fact that someone has not his ID after a tornado shouldn’t prevent him from applying. “
The Kentucky Disaster Loans Fact Sheet says applicants should have “an acceptable credit history for the SBA,” but Graham doesn’t want that discouraging people from applying.
“It’s a federal loan, so if someone hasn’t paid child support is one thing, someone who is in default on a student loan, but I would just say, apply. “she said.
The SBA has also been busy administering a number of emergency aid to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Graham said the SBA’s disaster relief program has been around for a long time and that she is not concerned that the agency’s pandemic relief efforts will slow down the processing of disaster loan applications. .
About 25% of businesses do not survive after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety.
Recovery can be difficult for businesses and nonprofits following a natural disaster like this.
“We’re going to have to get all the assurances and then go through the long processes,” Guhy said. “But we will be back. The town of Mayfield will be back. And the churches of downtown Mayfield will be making a comeback in one form or another. “
Guhy with the First United Methodist Church in Mayfield hopes they can rebuild.
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