ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The State of Illinois is seeking additional recovery assistance following the historic flooding in 2019.
State leaders are seeking more assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help homeowners and business owners along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
So far, funding for recovery efforts in Alexander County is just like sandbags walls in the area - at a standstill for months on end.
“Anything that has been promised to us hasn’t come yet. We’re hoping this will come quicker, but that is just it, it’s a hope and at this point, we’re hoping for anything," said Jason Tubbs a Village Trustee East Cape Girardeau Village Trustee Jason Tubbs.
If approved, an SBA disaster declaration would pave the way for low-interest, long-term loans for homeowners, renters and business owners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters would also be eligible to apply for loans to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
“It’s another route to recovery,” Tubbs said. “Of course nobody likes to borrow money but if that is going to help re-establish a home where somebody has been displaced or somebody has found themselves homeless by all means that is what we’re going to have to do. It can also help to replace personal artifacts, so that is helpful for anyone not just for people where their whole home has been condemned, but any of our residents who have just had slight damages.”
Businesses and private non-profit organizations would be eligible to apply for loans to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
A large dumpster is outside the business formerly known as the Tiki Hut in East Cape. Tubbs said the inside it being torn out because 90 percent of it was damaged from the flood.
He added that the building is condemned with the condition that it can be remodeled, and the new loan opportunity could help it eventually reopen.
“For example to replace all of the coolers, the rent it, the walk-ins, the reach-ins the furnishings, the tables, the chairs, anything that was lost within it, this loan will help go a long way,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs said the village and the people who live there have also applied for hundreds of grants in hopes of getting additional funding sources for the recovery effort.
The acting IEMA Director for Illinois, Alicia Tate-Nadeau said the state is moving quickly to secure assistance for flood survivors who might also be fighting cold temperatures.
“We are approaching the winter months. Residents and business owners who need repairs to their homes are running out of time,” said Tate-Nadeau. "These river communities have been waiting for more than three months to receive help from the federal government. We are hopeful for an expedited approval from the SBA so that communities can begin to heal.”
For individuals and homeowners who still need immediate assistance in the wake of floods, the State of Illinois has a website dedicated to helping flood survivors.
You can click here for mortgage assistance, emergency housing and debris removal.
To be eligible for an SBA declaration, at least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county must sustain major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more.
After reviewing the results of a joint preliminary damage assessment, state officials believe that Stephenson, Rock Island, Jersey and Alexander Counties would meet the SBA criteria for a disaster declaration.
If approved, this would also make the following counties eligible for disaster loans and assistance: Jo Daviess, Winnebago, Carroll, Ogle, Whiteside, Henry, Mercer, Calhoun, Greene, Macoupin, Madison, Union and Pulaski.
The SBA request was filed the same day FEMA denied an Illinois appeal for assistance.
On October 18, the state submitted an appeal of FEMA’s earlier denial of assistance to help residents.
Under federal rules, the state cannot submit another appeal for federal assistance; however, the state could request a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration.