The SBA is opening a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Pasadena for aid after January's EF3 tornado.
The SBA's announcement comes a week after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rejected a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. In a press release, Governor Greg Abbott said he was "disappointed".
“While we are disappointed in the Biden Administration's decision not to support communities impacted by severe weather with FEMA assistance, the State of Texas will continue to exhaust all available options to support our fellow Texans in need," said Governor Abbott. "I urge the SBA to provide disaster loans for these impacted communities, and I thank TDEM for working to determine the state's eligibility for assistance. There is no force more powerful than Texans helping Texans, and together we will continue to support those needing assistance so they can recover and move forward.”
Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
Susheel Kumar from the SBA's Disaster Recovery and Resilience office said funds will usually be available three to four weeks after applying.
"Whether you're uninsured or you're under insured, the job for us is to figure out what scope of damages the resident suffered," Kumar said. "And after that, it's a matter of applying for it."
The SBA also plans to provide disaster loans for up to $200,000 to homeowners for damaged and destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including vehicles.
Kumar said there were enough homes and businesses in the area with major and minor damage to provide disaster relief.
"Anywhere where there was 25 homes or businesses (with uninsured damage). That's our threshold for the SBA. Harris County clearly met the threshold, Orange county clearly met the threshold."
Various counties in the Houston area will be eligible for the low-interest loans including Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, and Orange county among others. Most of the damage, however, took place near Deer Park and Pasadena.
Residents and businesses qualify because of uninsured losses related to the tornado and storms at the time.
The center will open at the John Phelps Courthouse Annex starting Tuesday, March 21 from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
The center will also be at Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.