Union County residents and business owners hit by heavy storms and flooding between Feb. 27 and March 8 may apply for low-interest disaster loans to begin recovering from the damages.

Union County residents and business owners hit by heavy storms and flooding between Feb. 27 and March 8 may apply for low-interest disaster loans to begin recovering from the damages.

U.S. Small Business Administration administrator Karen G. Mills announced the opportunity March 21.

"Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's field-operations center. "Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property."

Union County is one of 14 counties included in the declaration, along with Delaware County.

Mills made the loans available following a letter from Gov. John Kasich, requesting a disaster declaration, according to the SBA.

"The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Ohio with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans," Mills said. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."

Fixed-interest rates for such loans range from 2.56 percent to 5.13 percent for home loans, 4 percent to 6 percent for business loans and 3 percent to 3.25 percent for nonprofit organization loans. Businesses and nonprofits of any size may borrow up to $2-million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets, according to SBA Ohio district director Thomas Mueller.

Various types of loans are available for relief efforts, including home disaster loans, business physical disaster loans and economic-injury disaster loans (EIDL). Collateral is required for physical loss loans exceeding $14,000 and all EIDL loans of more than $5,000.

The SBA has established two disaster-loan outreach centers to help residents in the affected 14 counties complete their applications. Those centers are at the Auglaize County Council on Aging Senior Center, 610 Indiana Ave., St. Marys, and at the Scioto Valley Fire District - Dutton Station, 100 N. Front St., La Rue. Those unable to visit the centers should call SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Business-loan applications are available online at www.sba.org. Applications must be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Residents also may apply for disaster loans online at https://disasterloan. sba.gov/ela/. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is May 17. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 19.