FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Following the June 13 derecho that rocked parts of northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering assistance to affected businesses and residents.

The SBA declared a disaster in the area after Governor Eric Holcomb sent a letter requesting the declaration.

The declaration covers Allen County as well Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley Counties in Indiana. It also includes Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert counties in Ohio.

A Disaster Loan Outreach Center opened Tuesday in Fort Wayne at the Southwest Allen County Fire District Station 1 at 7001 Old Trail Road.

The center will remain open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays until it closes permanently on July 21 at 4 p.m.

The SBA is offering low-interest loans. Interest rates for businesses run as low as 2.935% and they go as low as 1.688% for residents.

The terms can go up to 30 years, and homeowners can receive loans up to $200,000 to repair damaged real estate. The max loans available for businesses are $2 million.

Homeowners and renters can also receive loans of up to $40,000 to repair damaged personal property.

If someone can’t make it to the Disaster Outreach Center, they can start the loan application process online here.

WANE 15 spoke with a Public Affairs Specialist from the SBA on Tuesday who said she highly recommends starting the process in person if you’re able to do so.

“We invite all the residents, business owners to come to the center and start an application process with the Small Business Administration,” Liliana Tschanett said. “Since we are here on the ground, we invite you to come and see how much is going to be helpful to you when you start the application process and [we can] help you through all this.”

“It’s going to help you through the process. If you do the math and you have a $200,00 loan with a very small interest rate starting at 1.688% for residents for a term of 30 years, that’s almost like a chunk of change, and that helps in the long term,” she added.

Tschanett said that the SBA can also help with mitigation to prevent damage in future storms, considering the Waynedale area, which she toured Tuesday morning, was hit by a derecho in 2012 as well.

She recommends people know how much money they’ve received in grants or from insurance before applying for a loan because the SBA does not duplicate assistance.

That’s an additional reason why Tschanett said people should come to the Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Waynedale. The SBA can provide more information and there.

These loans are exclusively for damage sustained during the derecho that hit on June 13.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 6, 2022. The deadline
to return economic injury applications is April 10, 2023.