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SBA declares Hennepin Co. a disaster area

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Penn Gas Stop
The Penn Gas Stop on the corner of 26th and Penn Ave. N. is seen on May 23, 2011, the day after a tornado swept through north Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

The U.S. Small Business Administration Thursday granted a disaster declaration for Hennepin County following the deadly May 22 tornado. Governor Mark Dayton requested the SBA declaration, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last week denied Minnesota's appeal for individual assistance for tornado victims. 

Minneapolis city council member Barbara Johnson, who represents north Minneapolis, says the ruling makes available low-interest loans for physical and economic damage caused by the disaster. 

"Not just small business owners but also homeowners or renters and they offer this very long term low-interest financing," Johnson said.

Any businesses or nonprofit organization in the declared disaster area can apply for a loan to help replace or restore damaged property. Officials say a Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open in north Minneapolis as early as next week. People can also apply for the loans over the phone and online.