Federal disaster program offers low-interest loans after Gaylord tornado

LANSING, MI – A federal disaster assistance program will provide low-interest loans to Gaylord residents and businesses affected by a destructive tornado.

The United States Small Business Administration granted an administrative disaster declaration for Otsego County on Wednesday, July 13, nearly two months after an EF-3 tornado swept through Gaylord.

“This declaration is an important step in securing the necessary support and resources for the Gaylord community,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “It is clear that this tornado has had devastating effects in Otsego County. These loans will allow people and businesses to begin rebuilding and ensure the community continues to move forward.

Related: Find all Gaylord tornado coverage here.

Two people died and dozens more were injured in the May 20 storm which swept through Gaylord in less than three minutes. It ripped through homes in the Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park, hit an area north of Gaylord town center and flattened some businesses on the M-32.

In the days following the tornado, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division hit the ground to assess the damage.

Whitmer asked President Joe Biden last month to declare a major disaster, but that request was denied on July 2.

The governor then asked the SBA for a disaster declaration to release additional resources for Gaylord.

“Anyone who knows the Gaylord community knows that our people are strong and resilient in the face of challenges,” said State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland. “This statement of additional funds available will go a long way to easing the incredible burden that families and businesses have taken on in the face of this disaster.”

Related: Drone footage of Gaylord neighborhoods devastated by rare EF3 tornado

The SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million to homeowners, renters, businesses and organizations to repair or replace damaged property. Repayment is tailored to each borrower’s financial capacity, a press release said.

The declaration covers Otsego County and the surrounding counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Kalkaska, Montmorency and Oscoda.

A temporary disaster loan center will be set up to provide individual assistance. Loan applications will also be available online or by mail.

Additional information is available at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s.

Learn more about MLive:

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Mobile home park ravaged by Gaylord tornado to be bulldozed

“Join in and lend a hand” Gaylord community cleans up after tornado tore through town

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