Deciding the next step - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Deciding the next step

HAMMOND, MN (KTTC-DT)-- Now that the Minnesota legislature has passed $80 million in disaster recovery money, many flood victims are finally starting to understand what kind of help is available.

The majority of people who had their homes damaged in the flood are going to look at two options: low-interest loans through a Federal program and the state's Quick Start program. For many homeowners who want to rebuild, they're hoping it's enough.

Cathy Mann's home still stands even though flood waters turned her Hammond house into a swimming pool. All you have to do is walk inside to see how extensive the damage trail is and how expensive.

"The mold and the rotting that's going on behind the counters," says Cathy Mann.

"The financing and where the money was going to come from, not having flood insurance, was a big stopping point," says Cathy.

Cathy and her husband Bob decided that they do want to stay in their home, but whether or not they can stay depends on the help they get.

At the Disaster Recovery Center in Mazeppa, the SBA and Housing tables get a lot of traffic. The Small Business Administration is offering home loans with 2 1/2% interest for those who qualify and business loans at 4%.

But the SBA loans are income based. Bob and Cathy were denied, so they applied to the state's Quick Start program. It's essentially a grant to help fill in the gaps that insurance and federal assistance don't provide.

Those who do qualify for SBA loans must take the maximum loan amount before applying for Quick Start. Depending on how wide the need gap is, homeowners can receive up to $30,000 from the program.

Bob and Cathy don't know how much they will qualify for, but they are hopeful for anything.

"We've really got nowhere else to go. We have to stay. We want to stay. We love this area and this town. It's been good to us," says Bob.

The Minnesota Department of Homeland Security extended the days that the Disaster Recovery Centers are open until this Thursday. They are open from 9 to 3. The deadline to apply for an SBA loan is December 14th.

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