More help could be on the way for last month’s tornado victims in DuPage County.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has requested a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), three weeks after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Woodridge and Naperville areas.
If approved, eligible residents could apply for a “low interest, long-term” loan of up to $200,000. Businesses could get up to $2 million in loan assistance.
The damage observed in the area didn’t qualify for a FEMA disaster declaration, but it does with SBA.
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However, after a year of COVID relief loans, some businesses may be slow at taking the assistance.
The Skeleton Key Brewery in Woodridge still doesn’t have electricity after the tornado severely damaged the brewery and taproom on June 20.
Co-owner Emily Slayton said they’re still paying off loans from a construction project on top of the COVID relief loans they took out to survive during the pandemic shutdowns.
"This could be something that helps us bridge that remaining gap that we're expecting [but] the thing is, right now, after COVID, we've already taken on relief loans," said Slayton. "It’s hard to say that a low-interest loan is the silver bullet, the thing that is going to help everything because it’s taking another debt position."
The Naperville Department of Public Works officially ended storm cleanup on Wednesday, according to a city spokeswoman, but many homes on Ranchview Drive and Princeton Circle are still in bad shape.
Of 231 structures damaged in Naperville, 19 are considered unhabitual.
Of the 400 homes damaged in Woodridge, 29 are classified as a "complete loss."