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Governor LePage Requests Aid from U.S. Small Business Administration for Lewiston Fire Victims

May 24, 2013

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 24
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today asked the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to make emergency low-interest loans available to affected property owners and residents who had major damage from the recent fires in the City of Lewiston.

“These low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration can help those facing major repairs to their property and those needing to replace personal belongings," Governor LePage said.

On April 29, fire destroyed three apartment buildings in downtown Lewiston. On May 3, fire destroyed four additional buildings. Together the fires displaced dozens of families. Based on the results of a joint survey conducted by the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the Androscoggin United Emergency Management Agency, the City of Lewiston, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, damages exceed the SBA requirement of at least 25 homes and/or businesses with uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their fair market value. A fire on May 6 did not meet these thresholds.

In the letter to SBA, Governor LePage requests that the affected area in the City of Lewiston be declared a disaster area by the SBA so that low-interest loans may be made available to the affected property owners and residents.

The SBA can provide real property loans of up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or restore their primary home to its pre-disaster condition. Also, the agency can authorize personal property loans to provide homeowners or renters with up to $40,000 to help repair or replace personal property, such as clothing, furniture and automobiles lost in the disaster. In addition, businesses suffering damage could receive loans to help repair or replace damaged property and for loss of business.

The SBA loans would augment other efforts under way to provide aid to the fire victims. Volunteer groups have been active in the Lewiston area since the fires. To assist charitable groups in their efforts to help Mainers recover, the United Way created the Governor’s Lewiston Fire Victims Relief Fund. The Governor donated $50,000 to the fund.

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