BUX County, Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolfe has said he will not declare the recent 100-year floods in Bensalem and Bristol as an extreme disaster. Instead, he will seek loans from the Small Business Administration at the federal level.
“Again, these decisions are not subjective, but rather based on which federal programs the Commonwealth will claim based on a PEMA damage assessment,” wrote Elizabeth Rementer, deputy spokesman for the governor’s office. “The administration is committed to exploring all the options available in its power to help residents.”
After a county-wide flood damage assessment by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the agency found that the damage was not sufficient to qualify for individual assistance – a category of assistance that provides direct subsidies to renters and homeowners affected by flooding. This influenced Wolf’s decision not to declare the flood an emergency catastrophe.
Factors eligible for individual assistance include: state financial capacity and resource availability, number of uninsured homes and personal property losses, demographics of the disaster-affected population, impact on public infrastructure, and numbers of people missing, injured, or dead. due to the disaster, as well as the number of disaster survivors who have lost their jobs or become unemployed due to the disaster and who are not eligible for standard unemployment insurance.
“Based on PEMA’s assessment of flood damage, the administration determined that it did not meet the threshold for individual assistance,” Rementer explained.
However, despite its name, the US Small Business Administration provides federal loans to homeowners and tenants, as well as businesses. To qualify for these loans, at least 25 households and / or businesses must have at least 40 percent uninsured loss, or at least five businesses must have significant economic losses.
Wolf requested such assistance.
“Based on PEMA’s assessment of flood damage, the Commonwealth believes it is eligible for federal assistance for businesses, tenants and homeowners through the SBA,” Rementer wrote. “[S]”The Governor made this request and the Commonwealth expects to hear from the SBA in the next day or two, in which case the administration will receive more information on how to apply for an SBA low-interest loan.”
However, Lower Bucks residents can qualify for government assistance through FEMA. Rementer said it will provide federal subsidies to government agencies and certain private nonprofits to repair public infrastructure.