Helping businesses affected by flooding

Small businesses affected by the 2016 severe storms and flooding events still have a chance to get financial assistance from the state.

The Restore Louisiana Small Business Program is offering zero percent interest loans to businesses affected by the March or August floods in 50 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, including Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis and Vernon.

Loan payments range from $20,000 to $50,000, and 20 percent of the loan may be eligible for forgiveness. No principal payments are due for the first six months of the five-year loan.

Kim Evans, communications director at TruFund Financial Services, one of the loan intermediaries, said the program’s purpose is to help businesses that either didn’t receive loans after the floods or did receive them but still have unmet financial needs.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p><em>“Small-business owners are the economic lifelines of our local communities, and we must do everything we can to provide critical financial support during these challenging times.” </em></p> <p style="text-align: right;">- Kim Evans </p>” id=”18f27c96-5d0e-4941-8aa7-e61cac91a0ff” style-type=”quote” title=”Pull Quote” type=”relcontent” width=”full”}}

“We hope that this program will assist these deserving families in moving forward,” Evans said.

She said applications will be accepted through June 30. Those looking for more information can participate in one of TruFund’s virtual sessions 11 a.m.-noon and 6-7 p.m. June 12, 14, 20 or 27. She said login information can be found at trufund.org, by calling 866-329-8939 or by emailing restorelouisiana@trufund.org.

TruFund will also hold an informational meeting 2-4 p.m. June 19 in the SEED Center. Evans encouraged business owners to participate in a virtual session before attending the meeting so they’ll be prepared to fill out an application at the event.

The window for applications opened May 26, and TruFund has been getting them daily, Evans said.

Donna Little, director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University, said she expects many of the businesses in Southwest Louisiana that were affected by the floods didn’t take advantage of assistance programs immediately afterward.

“The ones that were affected, I have a feeling they were pretty small and just weren’t ready to tackle a business loan,” Little said. “However, these low-interest loans could be very helpful to them.”

The program is funded through federal Community Development Block Grant funds and is managed by the state Office of Community Development. Intermediaries like TruFund and the South Central Planning & Development Commission are responsible for bringing the program to the businesses that need it.

Businesses must demonstrate at least $10,000 “out of pocket” physical damage or have suffered a 20 percent loss of revenue. They must have had a minimum pre-storm annual gross revenue of $25,000 and be operating now or demonstrate the ability to reopen. They must also have at least one full-time worker and no more than 50.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p>Visit <a href="http://restore.la.gov" target="_blank">restore.la.gov</a> or call 866-735-2001 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday</p>” id=”dca89497-6921-4e85-bee3-c84acc893fb6″ style-type=”info” title=”For More Information” type=”relcontent” width=”full”}}

Visit restore.la.gov or call 866-735-2001 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday

“Small-business owners are the economic lifelines of our local communities, and we must do everything we can to provide critical financial support during these challenging times.” 

– Kim Evans 

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