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An Alexander County official estimated there are still about 1 million sandbags in East Cape Girardeau more than three months after flood waters receded. 

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU — The Small Business Administration is reminding Illinois residents affected by flooding earlier this year that specialists are available to assist them in applying for low-interest loans.

About a week ago, the SBA opened four outreach centers in Illinois to offer application assistance to people and business owners who have suffered flood-related losses. Loan specialists are available to meet with Southern Illinois residents Monday through Thursday at Pit Stop Pizza in McClure. 

“It only takes about a half hour to see if you’re eligible,” Small Business Administration (SBA) spokesman John Oliver Frederick said.  

Frederick said that an appointment isn’t necessary. Prospective applicants should be prepared to offer basic information to a loan officer, such as where they live and work, an estimate of the damages they suffered related to flooding, whether they have flood insurance and have filed a claim, and for bank information in order to route funds upon approval. “Basically, just bring yourself,” he said. “It’s not a complicated ask or a hard task.”

Once the loan officer has all the information needed, it takes about seven days or less for a decision to be rendered, he said. 

Specialists will remain on site through Thursday. People can also request a paper application and return it via mail, or apply online, through Jan. 13. Businesses seeking a loan related to longer-term economic injury have until August.

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Businesses are eligible for loans of up to $2 million. Homeowners can access up to $200,000 for real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. The interest rates for homeowners and renters are just over 2%.

The loan review process does not involve credit scores, but applicants must have a good credit history and demonstrate a likeliness to repay any loan for which they qualify. Those who are concerned about their credit history should take the opportunity to talk to a specialist as eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, Frederick said.

Even if people aren’t eligible, he suggested that they go through the process of applying. That’s because it might be necessary to show that they have exhausted all options for recovery in order to access any future grant programs that may be made available to them.

In Southern Illinois, any person or business in Alexander, Pulaski or Union counties affected by severe storms and flooding from Feb. 24 through July 3 is eligible to apply.

The SBA disaster recovery program was approved for 17 Illinois counties after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s initial application and appeal seeking access to individual assistance grants to help affected homeowners and renters.

The SBA satellite centers closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but reopen on Monday. Loan specialists are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, the final day.

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molly.parker@thesouthern.com

618-351-5079

On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI ​

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