The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved disaster assistance for South Mississippi counties that saw torrential rains and flash flooding April 28 through May 2.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency announced the flooding aid Tuesday, a week after saying FEMA had denied federal funding to the area.
The SBA named Harrison and Walthall as the primary counties affected, but assistance is available to adjacent counties, including Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion and Pike counties.
Residents, businesses and nonprofit groups in those counties can apply for low-interest loans to aid in recovery.
Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged property. Loans up to $40,000 are available to homeowners and renters to repair or replaced damaged personal property. Loans to businesses and nonprofits are available to repair damage to property, machinery, equipment or inventory.
In Harrison County, 123 apartments and about 125 businesses there damaged, which met the federal threshold for individual structures damaged. But the total cost of infrastructure damage fell short of the $4.6 million necessary for a FEMA disaster declaration. Harrison County Emergency Management Agency Director Rupert Lacy said the damage estimate was less than $3 million.
"MEMA will continue to work with Harrison and Walthall County officials to assist residents affected by the storms to identify unmet needs and work to get them the assistance they need," MEMA said in a release.
The SBA will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Harrison and Walthall counties next week.
Applicants can apply at the centers, online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, by calling 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf or hearing impaired) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA's website at sba.gov.