Representatives from the Small Business Administration are in Alabama this week to begin filing loans for victims of the Christmas Day tornadoes.
SBA representatives spent the day meeting with tornado victims at the Troy Public Library. Storm victims say they hope this process will help them begin to move on with their lives.
In the three weeks since his mobile home was destroyed by a tornado, Curtis James' life has completely changed. "I haven't been back to work yet. I'm still waiting to get a vehicle. Right now, I have a rental that I'm paying for. The insurance company stopped paying for it," he said.
He says he needs a boost, and he's hoping the SBA loan will give him that. "We did have a number of individuals that were affected come by and we discussed the program with them, handed out some applications, took one in," said John Mahoney with the SBA.
However, since it's a loan, the money must be paid back. "To qualify for it, it has to be reasonable credit, but that's the primary difference. There is no FEMA backstop, if you will, if you're declined, to go back to them for assistance, so that's the only downside to it," said Mahoney.
There's an upside too. the interest on these loans can be as little as 1.8 percent for individuals and 4 percent for businesses.
SBA officials say representatives will come out to assess the damage before they approve the loan. The whole process can take weeks or months, and tornado victims are hoping relief comes quickly."The sooner the process speeds up, the better off I'll be. I'm looking forward to the process speeding up, and I'll be able to try to get my life back on track," said James.
If you had damage in Pike County from the Christmas Day storms, you can apply for an SBA loan at the Troy Public Library through this Saturday. SBA representatives will also be in the library next week from Tuesday through Saturday.