Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Calling on Flood-Affected Businesses to Join Economic Recovery

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Calling on Flood-Affected Businesses to Join Economic Recovery

Article excerpt

Over the past few years, natural disasters have hit Missouri hard. From the tornadoes that devastated Joplin and St. Louis in spring 2011 to last December's floods, Missouri communities have had more than their share of personal and economic challenges. As a native of the Midwest, I have seen firsthand the hardships that can come from a downturn in the local economy. That's why I believe rapid response economic recovery services are critical in the wake of such disasters.

Recently I visited the federal coordinating center at City Hall in Arnold, which includes our Small Business Administration disaster recovery operations. SBA's best-known mission is to support America's entrepreneurs, but our agency is also responsible for providing low-interest loans to small businesses, homeowners and renters after a disaster. From what I saw on the ground and heard from local Missouri leaders, it's clear the SBA response team has done a great job responding to the needs of area businesses and residents who are reeling from economic hardship caused by flooding.

SBA has answered this call before. During the past five years, SBA has approved more than 1,000 disaster loans totaling more than $75 million for Missouri businesses and residents. Those loans are making it possible for many businesses and residents in the state to rebuild in the aftermath of these devastating disasters. Providing low-interest loan services helps ensure that the region's economic foundations, including many small businesses with deep roots in the community, remain strong.

During my visit, I heard stories about how the entire community rose up to help those who had been affected most directly by the floods by providing supplies and shelter or simply helping clean up. Neighbors, local merchants and church groups all came together to help. I'm proud that SBA can be a part of the community of support as well.

However, I feel compelled to write this today because SBA can help only the businesses and residents that reach out, and the clock is ticking. The deadline to apply for disaster loans for physical damages is March 21. I urge you to get your applications in as soon as possible. …

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