Anyone affected by the flooding in Louisiana may be eligible for low interest loans from the SBA. It is meant to help those with property and economic damage not covered by flood insurance. This may be the biggest federal program to help you rebuild - and even if you do not need a loan it is worth considering because of the interest rates. The deadline for applying for loans to help with physical damage is October 13, 2016.
If you own your house and it was damaged, you may be eligible for a low interest loan of up to $200,000 to help with repairs and rebuilding. If you have credit available elsewhere, your interest rate will be 3.125%. If you cannot get credit elsewhere, your interest rate will be 1.563%. These interest rates are significantly better than carrying a credit card balance, and probably beat the market rate for home equity loans. You also may be able to refinance your existing mortgage with this program.
Whether you own or rent, you may be eligible for a low interest loan of up to $40,000 to help fix or replace personal property damaged or destroyed in the flooding, such as furniture and clothing. If you own a business that was damaged, you may be eligible for additional loan programs of up to $2,000,000 to get your business back on its feet.
SBA representatives are physically present in Louisiana to help answer questions and accept applications. They are located at these locations and times. You can also read more about SBA disaster loans here or on the SBA website.
“The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.” Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
While satirical, with this quote Heller brought attention to the concern that the military did not always dole out justice in righteous ways. And there was plenty of real life, legitimate outrage after World War II on this subject, which helped herald the creation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
But even today with the UCMJ, the tension between military necessity versus a fair trial creates debate. Military courts are not a separate body in the way an Article III court or state court is. While they have a tremendous amount of independence and power, a military court is still an entity inside the military. The commander who convenes the court, as well as military judges, military prosecutors, military defense counsel and military juries still all work for the same person (albeit far up the command chain).
Experienced military counsel will tell you that this generally works, although recently some of the safety measures originally placed in the UCMJ have been removed for political reasons. And that is bad. But, the system is tested sometimes to the breaking point when dealing with tough cases. The Bowe Bergdahl case is a great current example. And good for his defense attorneys for pressing the issue.
General Robert Abrams was the commander who decided to send Bergdahl to a court-martial, despite the fact that Bergdahl spent five years as a POW to the Taliban under incredibly severe conditions and despite the fact that his Article 32 hearing officer recommended a lesser form of punishment. That decision was for General Abrams to make – or was it? Before General Abrams made the decision to send the case to a court, Senator John McCain very publicly stated that he would hold congressional hearings if the case did not go to a court-martial. So, General Abrams was faced with at least the appearance of a political problem – if he chose not to send the case to a court then he would personally face a hearing before Congress where he would be cross-examined on a national stage, complete with congressional grandstanding. Oh, and not to mention McCain sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has as much control as any regarding which generals get confirmed by the Senate for promotions and job assignments. If General Abrams failed to send this case to a court – even if he truly in his heart knew that it was an unfair decision – what would happen to his career?
Perhaps, as he testified, General Abrams would have made the same decision without McCain’s threats. Or perhaps not. It sure seems like a politician made the decision for General Abrams. That perception alone points to a major flaw in the system, and is a reason to commend defense counsel who are brave enough to stand up to the powers that be.
Flood insurance and other government assistance may help pay for property damage if you or someone you know has been affected by the Louisiana flooding. However, those payments may not be enough to cover all your expenses. Low interest loans are available now, which can be a much cheaper option than carrying a high interest balance on a credit card. We are highlighting two options, but there are many more opportunities out there if you or someone you know could use some financing.
If you are looking for a relatively small amount of cash to help you through the near future until you get back on your feet, you may qualify for an unsecured personal loan through a bank. Whitney Bank, for instance, is offering loans to qualified flood victims of up to $50,000, with low interest rates and no payments for 90 days. Call Tyelise Vavasseur at (225) 381-0452 for information.
If you are a flood victim and are looking for a larger loan or are looking to refinance your home mortgage, you may qualify for a low interest loan through the Small Business Administration (even if you do not own a business). These loans typically require you to mortgage your home or other real property. See more on SBA disaster loans here or visit a local disaster recovery center to speak with an SBA representative.
A power of attorney is a document that authorizes another person to do something on your behalf. If you or someone you know has been a victim of flood damage, executing a power of attorney to authorize someone else to deal with FEMA or your insurance adjuster on your behalf may be very helpful and convenient. Similarly, perhaps you want to authorize someone else to be able to speak and contract with utility companies, contractors, your bank, or any other entity.
If your elderly parents had flood damage, perhaps they would like to rely on you to take care of the discussions and paperwork for them. If you find it difficult to find time and attention to devote to these issues during the day, because for instance you are busy or out of touch at work, you may want to give someone else the authority to have those discussions for you.
If you want more information, call our office and we will be happy to discuss your situation. If related to flood damage, we will also be happy to draft and execute a power of attorney for you at no charge.
Condon, Wood & Burkhart want to help people find the quickest path to recovery, so we are running a pro bono service for those affected by the floods. If you have a flood-related issue, you are welcome to sit down with one of our attorneys to discuss your situation free of charge. We will have computer terminals available for online FEMA filing and other applications if you do not have access to the internet. Even if you do have internet access, but want help through the process, we can assist you with registrations and applications.
You may call us at (225) 372-8877 to schedule an appointment, including after hours or on a weekend if your situation requires it. You can also reach us by email on our contact page. If making an appointment is difficult because of your circumstances, feel free to walk-in any time between 9AM and 5PM at our downtown office located at 457 Louisiana Avenue – we are on the corner of Louisiana Avenue and St. Charles Avenue one block from Christina’s Restaurant.
While you are welcome to see us for any flood-related issue, we recommend you keep these things in mind if you have had property damage or injury due to flooding. Please keep in mind that we will continue to update page, so please check back from time to time for more information.
What to Do First
Farm Service Agency (USDA)
Before Hiring a Contractor