Relief Options Sought for Wayne County, Ohio, Flood Victims

The emergency management agency hopes to learn if the county has enough uninsured damage to homes, trailers and businesses to qualify for SBA loans, which can help businesses and homeowners recover from disaster damage.

by Emily Morgan, The Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio / August 7, 2019

(TNS) — The Wayne County Emergency Management Agency has spent the last two weeks searching for relief options to help residents and businesses affected by the July 21 flooding.

The EMA hopes to learn if the county has enough uninsured damage to homes, trailers and businesses to qualify for Small Business Association (SBA) loans. These low-interest loans can help business and homeowners recover from damage due to disasters, according to Wayne County EMA Director Joe Villegas.

"Unfortunately, flooded basements, garages, outbuildings and driveways are not considered in the damage numbers since they are not primary living spaces," Villegas said.

There are four categories of damage — destroyed, major damage, minor damage and affected. To be considered for loan qualification, the county must have at least 25 homes and businesses that were destroyed or sustained major damage. Business must have sustained an uninsured loss equal to or more than 40 percent of the total value of the business.

Wayne County did not qualify for any Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funding because it did not have significant numbers of damaged structures.

"It takes a very large event to trigger the availability of these funds," Villegas said.

The Wayne County EMA did find that many of the local nonprofit agencies such as United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties, the American Red Cross and OneEighty.

"[They] were very eager to help close the gap for those in need," Villegas said.

More than 400 people were evacuated when heavy rains flooded the Wooster area on July 21. Apple Creek also saw major flooding that evening and Franklin Township sustained significant infrastructure damage.

For more information on disaster relief, contact the Wayne County EMA at 330-262-9817.

— Reporter Emily Morgan can be reached at 330-287-1632 or emorgan@the-daily-record.com.

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©2019 The Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio

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