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Miami Valley's Last SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center Shuts Down

FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are urging people affected by the tornadoes to apply for financial help.
Jess Mador

The Miami Valley's last-remaining federal disaster assistance center opened in the aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes closed this week.

The Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Dayton Children’s Hospital Health Pavilion shut down Wednesday. SBA officials say the agency approved more than $27 million in low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners across the statewide Memorial Day disaster zone.

Almost four months after the storm, many tornado survivors are still working through the FEMA approval process for Individual Assistance grants. FEMA reports nearly 2,000 applications for grants remain pending in Montgomery County because  applicants have insurance. 

Roughly 4,600 people registered for help in Montgomery County, which received more than $2 million in individual assistance. Mercer County received Individual Assistance grants totaling almost $19,000. The agency distributed $225,000 in grants across disaster areas in Greene County.

FEMA also recently approved Public Assistance to help reimburse four storm-affected counties -- Columbiana, Greene, Mercer, and Montgomery -- for up to 75 percent of county government expenses related to emergency response and cleanup.

In a letter to FEMA this summer, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency said preliminary damage assessments show the state had more than $18 million in storm-related expenses, much of it -- around $12 million -- for debris removal.

Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson tells WYSO that FEMA investigators have completed their damage inspections.

"We are awaiting visits from FEMA workers to help guide us though the reimbursement process," he says.

A spokesperson for Montgomery County says officials there are also working with FEMA to move forward on the county's request for Public Assistance. 

Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency for Greene, Mercer and Montgomery Counties on May 28 after 21 tornadoes hit Ohio. He requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration June 11, which was approved by President Donald Trump on June 18.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.