NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco residents who suffered financial loss due to physical damage caused by Hurricane Ian can apply for financial assistance from the Small Business Administration, said Stephen Clark, the agency’s public affairs specialist, to City Council at its November 15 meeting.
The application deadline has been extended to January 12.
The SBA offers long-term, low-interest loans to businesses, nonprofits, homeowners, and renters whose property was damaged due to the late September storm. This includes, for example, exterior or interior damage to structures, including primary residences and secondary residences if used for commercial purposes, including rental income. Non-luxury vehicles and items inside buildings, such as furniture (with limits on luxury items such as antiques) are eligible. Mobile homes are not considered real estate, but the personal property of the person holding the deed.
Applicants must demonstrate that the disaster caused the damage, that they have an acceptable credit history and that they can repay the loans. Interest rates are lower for people who have no other credit available.
Although people can apply online at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov, Clark encouraged people to meet with an SBA representative in person at one of two disaster recovery centers in the area. FEMA representatives will also be present at the centers, making the request for disaster assistance a “one-stop shop”.
The nearest centers are at the Lealman Exchange, 5175 45th St. N in St. Petersburg, which is open seven days a week (closed on Thanksgiving) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and the Chloe Coney Urban Enterprise Center, 1907 E. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa, open seven days a week (except Thanksgiving), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on what to bring to the disaster center or for other information, visit sba.gov/disaster or call 800-659-2955.
The SBA also offers Economic Impact Disaster Loans for those who have suffered non-physical losses (such as a business closing due to lack of power or staff unable to enter), but the deadline for these loans is in June.
Also at the council meeting, residents of River Road who live near the site of a Nov. 4 drive-by shooting of two women – who were shot while in a car that also contained children – pleaded with the city to clean up their neighborhood and offered proposals for action.
Residents, at least one of whom said they had lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, described years, if not decades, of rampant drug activity and violence in their neighborhood, which they said stemmed primarily from two buildings which they called drug dens. as well as, on occasion, bicycle shops. They said they complained about the incessant traffic, including late at night; battered women in the alleys; cars with invalid tags; overdose death; and at least one previous shot.
Residents said they were ready to work with the city to implement any measures that would help clean up their neighborhood.
They suggested forming a neighborhood watch; have the city declare the two houses in question harmful properties, which could lead to foreclosure; install surveillance cameras in the area; and improved lighting; but added that they were open to ideas.
In other cases
Mayor Rob Marlowe, on behalf of the city, issued proclamations recognizing small businesses on Saturday (November 29) and Native American Heritage Month (all of November). Eric Mullins has also been appointed to the Cultural Affairs Committee.