SBA tornado loan center opens in north Minneapolis

Damaged home
Asatta Brown's north Minneapolis home needs more than $100,000 in work that has yet to be done.
MPR Photo/Carolina Astrain

A temporary help center opened Tuesday in north Minneapolis to assist tornado victims to apply for federal loans.

The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans to help people repair or replace damaged property. The loans are available to businesses, but also renters, homeowners, and nonprofit organizations.

Lisa Dressler, the city's emergency management director, says about 100 residents came seeking help on the center's first day. She says the loans are a bright spot in the recovery effort.

"The SBA came at the request of the governor and the city for a declaration, once we realized that we weren't going to be receiving the individual assistance from FEMA," said Dressler.

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FEMA twice denied a request to provide aid to homeowners and renters, saying the tornado recovery effort could be adequately handled by state and local governments and volunteer relief groups.

Dressler says homeowners can apply for loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace their houses.

Homeowners and renters are also eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to cover damaged personal property, such as clothing and furniture.

The center will be staffed through Saturday, and will re-open Monday.