Disaster loans for fire victims; little interest and not enough income

Published: Apr. 13, 2017 at 3:26 PM AKDT
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It was an offer of help that many victims of a major Anchorage fire apparently couldn't afford to take.


was in town for the past week, taking applications for low-interest disaster loans for victims of the

which killed three people and either injured or displaced dozens more.

On Thursday, Bill Koontz, an S.B.A. spokesman, said the agency got a "very modest response" with only about one person per day showing up to seek information about the loans.

Koontz said it appeared that most of those who came to the Loussac Library could not meet the minimum income requirements to pay back the loans.

"We try very hard to make sure we don't miss any opportunity to approve a loan," Koontz said. "We look at every person who comes in on an individual basis. We often give them the benefit of many doubts in terms of how we underwrite our disaster loans. But in the end, if they can't afford the payments, we will have to say no."

Still, the S.B.A. encourages victims of the fire to apply.

"The thing I would say to anyone is even if you're not sure you can afford a payment, you could talk to S.B.A. and find out for sure," said Koontz. "There's no obligation and no cost to apply."

Koontz said the S.B.A. is making loans available to the fire victims in order to either replace or repair their personal belongings. The maximum loan amount is $40,000, at an interest rate of 1.875 percent, with a pay back term of 15-to-30 years.

The deadline to apply is June 5.

You can contact the S.B.A at 1-800-659-2955 or online at