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State program offers interest-free loans to flood victims

From staff reports

Homeowners struggling to recover after the August floods have a new source of assistance available.

The state’s Homeowner Quick Start Disaster Recovery Program supplements federal and other financial assistance for homeowners who have sustained damage to their residences as a result of the August floods.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency-administered program offers forgivable, no-interest loans between $1,000 and $23,000 per house. The loans must be used for capital improvements to return houses to their pre-disaster, or comparable, condition.

No principal or interest payments need to be made during the term of the loan, which will be forgiven in 10 years as long as the home is the primary residence of the borrower. The loan principal must be repaid only if the borrower sells the house or no longer uses it as a primary residence within 10 years.

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Loan amounts will be the difference between 1) insurance proceeds and assistance received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration and 2) the amount necessary to repair a house to its condition before the flood.

In order to qualify for a loan, you must first apply to FEMA and SBA for assistance, a process that can be started by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). You can apply for a Quick Start loan even if you were declined for an SBA loan.

The deadline for applying to FEMA and SBA is Oct. 22. The deadline for applying for the Quick Start loan is Dec. 22.

Initial funding for the program was secured through the recent special legislative session during which $18 million was allocated for housing assistance.

Quick Start applications can be made at the following locations:

  •  Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, 2122 Campus Dr. S.E., Ste. 100, Rochester. Phone: 328-7154
  •  Three Rivers Community Action Agency, 1414 North Star Drive, Zumbrota. Phone: (800) 277-8418
  •  105 First St. N.W., Dodge Center. Phone: (507) 374-6401, contact is Marty Pogalz
  •  138 East Main, Caledonia. Phone: (507) 725-3677. Contacts: Jan Palen, Iyla Mulvenna.
  •  108 Fillmore Place, Preston. Phone: (507) 765-2761. Contact: Lynn Mensink
  •  St. Joseph’s Education Center, 111 N. Mill St., Rushford. Phone: (507) 474-4890
  •  545 Dunnell Drive, Owatonna. Phone: (507) 451-7134. Contact: Michele Lammi
  •  165 E. Fourth St. Ste. 100, Winona. Phone: (507) 452-8396. Contacts: Peggy Shattuck, Connie Kukowski.
  •  1756 Kramer Dr., Ste. 300, Winona. Phone: (507) 474-4890.
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