Residents affected by flash flooding can apply for loans

By BETH BUNCH,

Forrest County has been named as one of several south Mississippi counties in a declaration of flash flooding that took place on May 8-9. The other counties are Stone, George, Jackson, Hancock, Harrison, Perry and Pearl River.

Gov. Phil Bryant requested the assistance of the Small Business Administration on Nov. 18 to provide low-interest loans to those needing assistance. But the application process is only for a short period of time with a deadline of Jan. 21, 2020.

SBA public affairs specialist Leroy Frazier spoke to the Forrest County Board of Supervisors Monday as the representative assigned to this area.

“The declaration covers the entire county, but my offices have informed me that District 5 may have been the area of the county with the greatest impact,” Frazier said. “We are here and we do have federal assistance that is available for homeowners/renters, and businesses in two forms.”

The first is a physical disaster, which is designated for homeowners who may have sustained damage to their real estate.

“They can qualify for up to $200,000 in assistance to help them in correcting whatever situation that might have taken place,” Frazier said, noting that assistance is in the form of low-interest loans, not grant money.

Renters are eligible for up to $40,000 for any personal property that may have been damaged.

“The loans for renters are as low as 1.98 percent,” he said.

As for businesses, they can qualify for up to $2 million in terms of physical disaster. In addition to physical disaster, businesses and nonprofits can also qualify for economic injury. These must be private nonprofits that don’t receive any funds from the federal government or any government entities.

Frazier explained if businesses were financially impacted in a way where they weren’t able to take care of their payroll and the normal way of any ongoing financial transactions such as paying bills, SBA can help them get back on their feet through economic interest.

Business loans are available for as low as four percent.

Frazier noted that FEMA would normally come in if the assistance needed was the result of a disaster, “but this is the type of assistance Gov. Bryant requested.”

District 4 Supervisor Chris Bowen explained that in his district there were upwards of 50 areas damaged, but to his knowledge they were all public roads, culverts and damage around bridges.

“I’m not aware of any businesses or individual homes being damaged,” Bowen said. “We did have reports of some driveways. And FEMA or MEMA is not taking care of any of that.”

Glen Moore, Forrest County Emergency Management director, said this particular event was limited to areas south of Hwy. 13 and west of 49.

“Damage was mainly in Stone and Pearl River counties, but the southern tip of Forrest County also received damage.”

Those who believe they may qualify for assistance can register online at  or call 1-800-659-2955 or send an email to .

To apply online, visit the SBA’s secure website at Disaster Loans.sba.gov

703-895-0822.