Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has officially made homeowners, renters and businesses in Yates County who were affected by last month’s heavy rain and floods eligible for special low-interest disaster loans. Yates County has been deemed eligible for these loans because it reached a specific damage threshold – physical damage to at least 25 homes or business structures in excess of 40% of the uninsured value. SBA will now set up a temporary office in Yates County where they will offer low-interest loans to renters, homeowners, and businesses to make repairs, replace household items, or clean up debris. Any renter, homeowner or business that suffered significant damage as a result of the flooding in any contiguous county – Ontario, Seneca, Schuyler and Steuben – is eligible for these SBA loans as well. Schumer and Gillibrand previously wrote to the Administrator of the SBA, asking her to be ready to swiftly approve a disaster declaration for Yates and other impacted counties if they were to qualify, and then again in support of New York State’s application for disaster relief once it was clear the damage in Yates reached the minimum threshold.
“Yates County residents and business owners are still recovering from some of the worst flooding they have ever faced, which is why these disaster loans are so important. They will provide those who have been the most affected with the support they need to recover and rebuild after this severe weather,” said Schumer. “These disaster loans represent a light at the end of the tunnel for those who were affected by the flooding in Yates County, as well as the other impacted Finger Lakes counties.”
“Yates County homeowners and businesses that weathered this storm and the flooding it left behind should not have to bear the burden of cleanup costs on their own,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These important disaster loans will go a long way in helping these families and businesses get back on their feet, and begin to recover.”
Beginning May 13 and continuing through May 16, emergency crews worked conducting evacuations and water rescues as a result of the worst flooding to hit the region in over forty years. A state of emergency was declared by the Governor in Yates County and Penn Yan schools were closed. Several buildings in Penn Yan suffered major damage. The flooding caused the Owl’s Nest, a former community center that was being rehabbed on Seneca Street to collapse. Parts of Route 364 were also closed because ditches and culverts running underneath the state road washed out.
The SBA can now provide qualified recipients with low interest loans up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to replace personal property, $200,000 to homeowners to repair, replace, or clean up damaged homes, and up to $2 million to business owners to repair damaged businesses. Interest rates are set quarterly but currently can be as low as 2.188% for homeowners and as low as 4% for businesses.