$1 million approved to help homeowners with tornado repairs—learn how to apply

The Minnesota Housing Board on July 28 approved $1 million for the Quick Start Disaster Recovery Program to provide assistance to help homeowners make repairs to homes that were damaged in the May 22 tornado. Quick Start provides assistance to homeowners as a last resort when private insurance and Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance are not enough to make repairs. The program provides no-interest loans of up to $30,000 for home repair and is forgiven if the owner remains in the home for 10 years.

If your home has tornado damage, here are the steps to take to finance repairs:

1. Work with private insurance: What if my insurance doesn’t cover the cost of repairing tornado damage to my home or property?

You can negotiate with your insurance company about your claim. Homeowners and property owners affected by the tornado with questions about insurance claims, repair contracts, other real estate matters, or other legal issues can call Volunteer Lawyers Network at (612) 752-6677.

2. Apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loans: Why should I apply for an SBA loan?

You must complete the SBA loan application to be eligible for many other forms of assistance, including the Quick Start program. You have until Sept. 6, 2011 to apply. SBA loans (at approximately 2.5% interest for homeowners and renters and 4% for businesses) have credit and income qualifications. The amount the SBA will lend depends on the cost of repairing or replacing the home and/or personal property, minus any insurance settlements or grants. To apply, email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 www.sba.gov

3. Use other resources: What if my insurance coverage isn’t enough to make repairs and I am not eligible for an SBA Loan?

When private insurance and SBA loans do not meet tornado repair needs, other resources may be available. An SBA denial is required to access most other disaster funds. The Minnesota Housing Quick Start Disaster Recovery Program will provide assistance as a last resort to return a damaged home to its pre-disaster condition. The Quick Start funds are administered by three local organizations. Contact these organizations to learn about available loans and grants:

Center for Energy & Environment, (612) 335-5884, www.mncee.org

Housing Resource Center North, (612) 588-3033, www.gmhchousing.org

Neighborhood Housing Services, (612) 521-3581, www.northsidenhs.org

Applications for Quick Start funding can be downloaded at www.mnhousing.gov and will be accepted by the Quick Start administrators listed above through November 6, 2011. See the Quick Start fact sheet for more details.

If your property did not receive substantial damage but you still need help, you may be eligible for assistance from volunteers through these organizations:

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, (612) 788-8169, www.tchabitat.org

Rebuilding Together, (651) 776-4273, www.rebuildingtogether-twincities.org

Published Jul 29, 2011