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Area flood victims continue to apply for low interest loans

Some local flood victims are looking into a federal program to take out a low interest loan to help them move.

Posted: Feb 29, 2020 1:39 PM
Updated: Feb 29, 2020 10:18 PM

Whitesboro, N.Y. - We may be about to be begin March tomorrow, but many folks here in our area, including many in Whitesboro, are still feeling the effects of the last day of October and the first day of November of last year.

The horrific Halloween flooding caused major damage to many homes and businesses in many area communities.

On Saturday, some flood victims took a step to possibly move from their beloved homes because they know they are only going to get flooded out again.

Bob Jones of Whitesboro attended the U.S. Small Business Administration's Disaster Loan Open House at the Whitesboro Firehouse on Saturday.

Jones and his wife live on Ellmore Drive in the village of Whitesboro, one of the streets that continues to get pounded every time the Sauquoit Creek overflows its banks.

Jones says his home has sustained major damage 4 times in the past 9 years and the latest damage on Halloween night, 2019 was the worst ever, “ In '17 I had water that got to within 3 inches of the cellar ceiling and it destroyed everything in the cellar. This time in 2019 it went higher, to the cellar ceiling and it got to an inch and a half into the first floor."

Jones says besides replacing everything in his basement, after this latest flood he also had to replace the entire floor of his home.

He is now hoping to find a new home so he doesn't have to continue to replace things and repair things, but also so he doesn't have to live the horror he lived Halloween night, "I have five dogs. So I have my wife and my five dogs going down the street where I lived and the water was already up to my knees and I’m walking. We managed to get up the street but we should’ve never stayed as long as we did."

Now Jones is hoping to possibly sell his home for a huge loss and also take out a low interest loan to help he and his wife buy a new home.

It's an option U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance Public Affairs Specialist Carl Dombeck says is possible, "Renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property and that does include automobiles. Homeowners are eligible for that $40,000 for personal property plus up to another $200,000 for real estate damage, and then businesses can borrow up to $2 million for physical damage, economic injury or some combination of both, but that’s all based on need."

Dombeck says flood victims can use the SBA disaster loan to relocate but the amount of the relocation loan depends on whether they relocate voluntarily or involuntarily.

Jones says he's not sure he will qualify for the SBA low interest loan, but says he wanted to come down and try, especially this week after FEMA announced it denied New York State's appeal of FEMA's earlier decision to deny individual assistance to the Halloween flood victims here in Central New York and Vermont, "With this buyout that we thought might come through and it didn’t come through, you know that leaves you kind of hanging."

SBA representatives will continue to be at both the Whitesboro Firehouse here in Oneida County and the Newport Firehouse in Herkimer County through March 12th.

The deadline to apply for the low interest loans is April 27th.

For more information, you can head to : www.disasterloan.sba.gov

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