Eligible costs include clean-up, restoration and repairs

MADISON, WI. AUG. 21, 2019 – Businesses that suffered damage during the July 18 storms and their aftermath in west central and north central Wisconsin will be eligible for no-interest microloans to help cover repair costs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced.

The WEDC Board of Directors has allocated $1 million in funding for the Disaster Recovery Microloan (DRM) Program to assist businesses damaged by the severe weather.

Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency due to the extreme severe weather, which began on July 18 and continued for the next few days.

“Our aim is to provide immediate aid to businesses that suffered losses in the storms,” the governor said. The governor this week officially requested disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help cover the costs of local governments’ clean-up and repair efforts. If approved, the federal funds would not be available to businesses or homeowners.

The WEDC loans will be administered by the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Affected businesses should contact the respective RPCs directly to access the loans.

Officials from these areas have already identified more than 60 businesses that may need assistance, including 18 each in Wood and Langlade counties and a total of 28 businesses in Barron and Polk counties.

Under the DRM Program, WEDC awards grants to its contracted regional designees, such as the local regional planning commissions, which in turn provide loan applications and issue loans to damaged businesses seeking short-term assistance. Businesses must have suffered measurable physical damage because of the disaster and must intend to resume business operations in the community as quickly as possible.

Businesses in the affected areas will be eligible for microloans of up to $20,000 at 0% interest, which will provide them with a short-term source of funds for repair work and operating expenses until more long-term recovery funding can be secured. The loans have a two-year repayment period, with the first payment deferred for at least six months.

The loans can be used for procurement of cleanup and restoration services, operating expenses, temporary space, payroll, and repair and reconstruction work.

Details on the program in the north central region (Adams, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Vilas and Wood counties) are available at ncwrpc.org. Details on the program in the west central region (Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Polk and St. Croix counties) are available at wcwrpc.org.

WEDC’s Disaster Recovery Microloan Program was introduced in 2018 and is available to businesses in all 72 counties impacted by manmade or natural disasters declared by state or federal authorities. For more information, including a map of the regional planning commission contacts, visit wedc.org/disasterrecovery.