Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Residents of Bexar County whose homes or businesses were damaged by the five tornadoes that hit San Antonio last month could find financial relief to help with damage repairs and replacements.
The United States Small Business Administration, a federal agency that provides support to small businesses and entrepreneurs, announced last week that those residents qualify for low interest rate federal loans.
Residents of Atascosa, Comal, Bandera, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson counties may also apply for the SBA loans, which can be as low as 1.875% for homeowners and renters, 3.15% for businesses, and 2.5% for most nonprofits, an SBA official told KSAT 12.
For more information on the disaster loans, click here.
The interest rates vary based on each person’s situation, but the loans typically go up to 30 years, Scott Lampright, Bexar County assistant emergency management coordinator, told Bexar County Commissioners Tuesday. “They’re very liberal with loans there,” he added.
SBA officially set up a temporary Disaster Loan Outreach Center on Monday in the Central Library (600 Soledad St.), where qualified residents and business owners may receive assistance in filing for a disaster loan.
SBA officials will be on hand on the library’s second floor, in rooms 2D and 2E, to offer assistance and answer questions for the next 8-10 days, County officials said Tuesday. The center’s hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
The federal assistance comes after Mayor Ivy Taylor and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued disaster declarations for San Antonio and Bexar County, respectively, requesting state and federal funds to aid those affected by the twisters.
The heavy storms and tornadoes damaged on more than 100 homes throughout the city, with the North and Northeast sides of San Antonio taking the brunt of the impact. There were no deaths or serious injuries reported.
One of the tornadoes, an EF0 twister with 70 mph winds, touched down in the Camelot area of unincorporated Bexar County, Lampright said. The County’s Office of Emergency Management worked with various groups and area fire departments to locate potentially trapped or injured residents, while Bexar County Public Works cleared roadways of debris.
The County’s damage assessment showed that 167 homes had fallen trees or branches on them, 56 homes were damaged but remained habitable without repairs, seven homes had minor damages, and four homes had major damage marking them uninhabitable without significant repairs. No homes in the area were completely destroyed.
The swift emergency response after the storms hit was a seamless collaboration among various County departments, some of which volunteered their time and effort. Two outside volunteer groups, Texas Baptist Men and United Methodist Disaster Relief, also assisted the County with the clean-up and relief, Lampright said.
County Manager David Smith said that when he and Judge Wolff visited affected sites the morning after the tornadoes, they were impressed with the “the great work the public works and emergency management teams” had done.
“By the time we got there all the roads were passable, [and] none of the roads were blocked … We were able to get in and see the entire neighborhood,” Smith said, adding that the area also was well patrolled by the Sheriff’s deputies. “These guys did a great job.”