Wisconsin Offers Loans To Homeowners, Businesses For Flood Repairs
COON VALLEY — Gov. Scott Walker came to Coon Valley Friday morning to announce a pair of state programs meant to help homeowners and small business owners affected by recent flooding get back on their feet while they wait for federal disaster assistance.
Predicting that federal help is on the way, Walker said, “Hold tight — we’re going to use a portion of that money for mitigation” in the southern Wisconsin river systems that have been hit repeatedly by floods that were once talked about as hundred-year events.
One business owner spoke for himself and fellow business owners in Ontario who have been victimized by the Kickapoo River several times the past decade.
Tony Kelbel’s Drifty’s Canoe Rental is getting back on its feet. His KPI Restaurant is closed for the season. Like Walker, Kelbel praised the emergency workers, highway workers, friends, neighbors and volunteers who have stepped up in the aftermath. But he and his peers struggle with a simple question: Should we do this again? And possibly again? And again after that?
“I appreciate the efforts, and it’s a good first start,” he said, “but (mitigation and/or relocation) needs to be a topic of discussion.”
Under one program Walker announced Friday, homeowners will be eligible for no-interest loans up to $10,000 to be used for repair, cleanup and other costs under the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority’s $2 million Flood Relief Loan Program.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., in conjunction with its regional partners, also launched the $2 million Disaster Recovery Microloan Program for small businesses. It will provide an immediate source of funds, up to $15,000, for necessary restoration work and related expenses, Walker said.
“While the floodwaters have receded, we know hundreds of businesses and homeowners are still dealing with the costs associated with the flooding that hit much of the state,” Walker said.
“We are implementing these new programs to give residents and business owners an immediate source of funds to make needed repairs without having to cut through a lot of red tape.”
More than 4,300 homes and 140 businesses in 21 counties suffered more than $150 million in damage, according to preliminary estimates from Wisconsin Emergency Management.
The new loan program will help fill any financial gap, after insurance proceeds and available federal aid have been used, to repair damaged homes. The loans, up to a maximum of $10,000, must be used to repair flood damage, especially to repair or replace heating, electrical or plumbing systems, foundations and/or structural elements.
Loan eligibility requirements include:
- Residential structures must be four units or less, where at least one of the units is owner-occupied and is the owner’s principal residence.
- The borrower must be the owner and have a family income that does not exceed 120 percent of county median income.
- The borrower first must use all available insurance proceeds as well as pursue and accept all available federal aid before using WHEDA loan proceeds.
- The borrower will be required to document the use of WHEDA loan proceeds for eligible uses.
Homeowners who want to apply for a WHEDA can call 1-800-562-5546.
Under the WEDC’s Microloan Program, the agency will award grants to regional entities to provide loans of up to $15,000 to assist businesses with a short-term source of funds for repair work and operating expenses until more long-term recovery funding can be secured.
The loans can be used to pay for cleanup and restoration services, operating expenses, temporary space, and repair and reconstruction work.
To be eligible, a business must be located in or directly adjacent to a region where the authorized regional entity has received an allocation, must have suffered measurable physical damage and must intend to resume business operations as quickly as possible.
While the loan program will be available to businesses in all 72 counties, WEDC is initially working with regional entities in areas the flooding hit hardest: The Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the Madison Region Economic Partnership.
More information about the microloan program is available at the WEDC website