Dallas County hopes to get approval for low-interest SBA loans to help flood-affected people
BALCH SPRINGS, TX – The damage from last month’s flooding in Dallas County was not enough to qualify for a federal grant to help victims rebuild.
But those who need help can still get cheap loans to rebuild.
Dallas County leaders went door-to-door in southeast Dallas County on Friday to see who might qualify for these loans.
Some people in the area said they struggled to figure out how to repair the damage.
Dallas County is now waiting to see if the damage qualifies Balch Springs residents for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.
But many owners said they couldn’t keep waiting and had been working to rebuild their lives for weeks.
“Bills don’t wait. Debts and bills pile up,” said Vanessa Villas.
Garbage has also been piling up on Villas Street for three weeks.
From sunrise to sunset, she and her husband set out to repair their flood-damaged home themselves.
The Balch Springs couple don’t have insurance.
On Friday, they finished painting the children’s rooms.
“We still have to put in the floors, the trim,” Villas said.
RELATED: Flooding forces residents of Balch Springs to evacuate their homes
On August 22, historic flooding forced homeowners in some Balch Springs neighborhoods to evacuate.
Some residents were trapped and had to be rescued from high water.
Once the water receded, the Villas began to rebuild and have not stopped since, but they are now awash in debt.
“It’s like everyone’s life is going on and our lives are freezing. We’ve been stuck here,” Villas said.
City, county and state emergency management officials visited Balch Springs on Friday.
“In the entire state of Texas, we only had 70 homes destroyed or damaged. The majority were in Dallas County,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Jenkins was also part of Friday’s storm assessment, now hoping Balch Springs flood victims will qualify for low-interest disaster loans under the SBA program.
Despite its name, the SBA also offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 23 counties to attempt to qualify for FEMA assistance, but Judge Jenkins said FEMA’s threshold for uninsured losses had not been met.
“We all after listening to the state, and FEMA agreed that SBA was the way to go,” Jenkins said. “I’m disappointed that we can’t get individual help for those affected and only get these low interest loans for them.”
If approved, Jenkins thinks people will be on the ground processing low-interest loans over the next week.
But some don’t wait.
Oscar Rodriguez has been doing some work, still awaiting a final estimate from his insurance.
His 21-year-old house is now completely empty.
“Everything in the house is not well,” he said.
Across the street, the Villas want to reach halfway this weekend to hopefully have some sense of normalcy.
“We had to cut our drywall. That side of the house was untouched,” Villas said. “We had to start. We have three children that we have to bring home.”
If Dallas County is approved for these low-interest loans from the SBA, anyone with flood damage in surrounding counties, such as Tarrant, Ellis, or Collin counties, may also be eligible.