McKinley Fire

The McKinley fire burns across Willow in August of 2019.

WASILLA — The U.S. Small Business Administration is currently offering low interest disaster loans to Willow residents and business owners who were affected by the devastating McKinley Fire.

Last month, SBA PIO for the Office of Disaster Assistance, Field Operations Center- West, Kevin Wynne spent two weeks collecting applications in person at the Talkeetna Fire Department.

Wynne has since returned to California but implores anyone who’s been affected to submit an application online.

“There’s still time,” Wynne said.

A total of 52 primary residences, 3 commercial structures and 84 outbuildings were destroyed in the fire, according to data from akfireinfo.com.

Wynne said that he gathered about 30 applications from residents and one business owner during his time up here.

SBA declared a disaster under its own authority in response to a request they received from Gov.Mike Dunleavy Sept. 27, according to a recent press release.

The state disaster declaration has allowed SBA to assist the various communities affected by wildfires this year, including Chugach REAA, Copper River REAA, Delta/Greeley REAA, Denali Borough, Iditarod Area REAA, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Matanuska Susitna Borough, and the Municipality of Anchorage.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Alaska with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster,” SBA acting Administrator Christopher M. Pilkerton stated in the press release. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

The deadline for property damage applications is Dec. 2, 2019. The economic injury deadline is July 1, 2020.

McKinley fire victims can either fill out an application online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Those who’ve already submitted applications can check their acceptance status on the SBA website as well.

For more information, applicants can call SBA’s customer service line at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

What Types of Disaster Loans are Available?

• Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

• Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

What are the Credit Requirements?

• Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.

• Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.

• Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $25,000 and all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires you to pledge what is available.

What are the Interest Rates?

By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere. An applicant does not have Credit Available

Elsewhere when SBA determines the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from nongovernment sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant, which SBA determines to have the ability to provide for his or her own recovery is deemed to have Credit Available Elsewhere. Interest rates are fixed for the term of the loan.

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