READING, Pa. – Although many have left Ida, some are still struggling with the effects of the storm, and the Small Business Administration is coming to help.
“What we’re trying to do is bridge the gap of what insurance can’t provide,” said Karen Knapik, public affairs specialist for the SBA.
The storm ravaged parts of Berks County just over a month ago, and due to widespread damage, the SBA was allowed to come in and offer disaster loans to storm victims.
“If you have insurance,” Knapik said, “we’ll try to give you beyond what the insurance covers.”
The Berks County Emergency Services Department went to investigate the damage, a huge step in securing the SBA loan service. Ultimately, the damage in the county was extensive enough to warrant government assistance.
A team of 69 journalists, photographers and News producers captured these photos of Ida’s impact on Berks County.
“On the one hand, you’re hoping to find enough damage to qualify for the programs,” said Brian Gottschall, director of Berks DES. “On the other hand, obviously we don’t want damage in the community.”
While the help comes in the form of a loan, not a grant, the SBA has said interest rates for homeowners and tenants are as low as 1.6%, for businesses a bit less than 3% and for non-profit organizations even 2%.
“Everyone you know who has suffered damage, any type of damage, just your personal property, we are helping you with that,” Knapik said.
SBA officials will be on-site at the Berks County Fire Training Center in Reading until Thursday, October 21. It will be closed on Sundays and Monday, October 11, on the occasion of Columbus Day.