Help may come for hail victims

Last updated: May 28, 2014 - 5:11pm


By CHRIS KREPICH and SUSAN SCHWARTZ
Press Enterprise Writers

DANVILLE — Montour County is collecting information on damage from the recent hail storm in hopes of qualifying residents and businesses for low-interest loans to fix uninsured losses.

If at least 25 homes or businesses can document that they lost more than 40 percent of their properties’ value and that insurance didn’t cover the damage, residents in the county might qualify for the loans through the Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration program, said Walt Peters, the county’s emergency management director.

It’s a high bar, and there’s no guarantee the county will reach it, Peters said.

“It’s a shot in the dark,” he said.

The storm took place May 22.

Although the name of the program implies it is for businesses, private individuals can also get help, he said.

The losses can be calculated two ways.

• Residents can base their losses on the structural damage they suffered. If the uninsured loss is at least 40 percent of the fair market value of the building housing their homes or businesses, the damage will count toward the county’s qualification.

• Residents can also estimate the pre-disaster or fair replacement value — whichever is lower — of everything they own, including clothes, appliances and vehicles. If their loss comes to more than 40 percent of their personal property, the damage will also count toward qualifying.

If you think you meet either test, you should fill out an SBA Survey sheet, which you can get by going to www.montourco.org and clicking on the SBA Survey Information Link. You can also get a hard copy at the Montour County Commissioners Office in the county courthouse, 29 Mill St.

Completed forms should be returned to the Montour County Commissioners Office, 29 Mill Street, Danville, PA 17821. They can be faxed to 570-271-3088 or 570-271-3078. Residents can also scan the forms and e-mail them to wpeters@montourema.org.

Forms must be submitted by 4 p.m. June 6.

If you don’t think you will qualify, don’t bother to turn in a form, Peters said. It will only create more paperwork that needs to be reviewed.

This program is different than the Federal Emergency Management Agency program that gave grants to counties, businesses and residents following floods, he said. Those involved presidential declarations of disasters, which take all damage, regardless of how much, into consideration.

No free money will be released through the SBA program, he said. The loans will have to be paid back.

Peters said it would take at least 30 days to find out whether the county qualifies.

Danville reporter Chris Krepich may be reached at 570-275-2104 or chris.krepich@pressenterprise.net. Susan Schwartz can be reached at 570-752-3646 and susan.schwartz@pressenterprise.net, or followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PESueSchwartz.

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