San Jose loan center opens to help flood victims

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new disaster loan office opened Wednesday in San Jose, to help victims of last month's devastating flooding.

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Landlords were among the first to line up to apply for low-interest loans to repair apartments damaged during the Coyote Creek flood.

However, the loans are also going to be important to businesses and their employees.

Lines quickly formed at San Jose City Hall where four representatives from the Small Business Administration started taking applications for loans. Homeowners, renters and businesses are all eligible.

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This ended four weeks of worry and sleepless nights for Julie Sachs who owns seven apartment buildings in Rocksprings. "We're going to be able to get the places repaired quickly. When you don't have money and you have to go out and try to get separate loans from banks, it takes a while," Sachs said.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for repairs, $2 million for businesses, and renters and homeowners can borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal items.

A $40,000 loan for 30 years at 1.8 percent results in a monthly payment of $140 to $150.

The loan program will be a big help to Jeff Kolb who has to repair all five units of his building. "We're looking at about anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 per unit because it was completely devastated," Kolb said.

The loan process is fast. "It's generally 10 to 14 days turnaround time that we can have the money into their accounts for homeowners and renters. Businesses may take a little longer because they have to get their P & L's together and their balance sheets together," SBA spokesman Kevin Wynne said.

Brian Seng employs 50 people at his circuit board company, Altest. Besides structural damage, he also lost $6 million in high tech equipment. So, he is outsourcing orders while seeking an SBA loan. "The customer doesn't care you're flooded or not because they want their boards, so I have to farm out the job to someone else to keep the customer, otherwise, I would go bankrupt," he said.

You can apply for a loan either at the City Hall office or online.
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