Residents eligible for assistance with tornado damage

NEW BRAUNFELS — Comal County residents whose property experienced damage during the tornadic storms of Feb. 19-20 may be eligible for federal low-interest loans to pay for the repairs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration on March 3 approved assistance for Bexar County and its neighboring counties, including Comal. The SBA provides low-interest loans in the wake of disasters for businesses that experienced physical damage or are having trouble meeting their financial obligations, and for homeowners whose property experienced damage.

"Although Comal County did not experience damage on the scale that San Antonio and Bexar County did from the storms last month, we did experience a confirmed tornado and several reports of damage caused by straight-line winds," said Jeff Kelley, the county's emergency management coordinator. "This is a great opportunity for property owners in our county to take advantage of assistance to repair any damage they experienced from those storms."

A tornado touched down briefly near Garden Ridge during a series of strong thunderstorms the night of Feb. 19, and wind damage was reported near Hueco Springs Loop north of New Braunfels, Kelley said.

As part of its disaster assistance program, the SBA offers loans of up to $200,000 at terms of up to 30 years with interest rates as low as 1.875 percent for homeowners who experienced damage and cannot afford the cost of repairs. Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated losses are eligible for the program.

Those interested in participating in the SBA disaster assistance program should visit sba.gov/disaster, call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

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