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You are invited... to our second meeting now


156 E Main Street
Russells Point



We have created this, our own website to get you some important information after the incredibly devastating tornado in the Indian Lake Area here in Ohio.  In addition we will share our real world experience in working through the programs in a previous a federally declared disaster, and clarify some commonly held MYTHS below you NEED to know about...   
Some of the official links, more at the bottom:

FEMA Declaration #4777-OH 
SBA Disaster #OH-20002
LOCAL Disaster Recovery Center OPEN (FEMA AND SBA) onsite

        SBA Recovery Center (SBA only) - Businesses and Home Owners

Visit a center or apply online at

You can also apply through the FEMA mobile app 
or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Other Recovery resources: State & Local | National

FEMA 24/7 counseling: Disaster Distress Helpline


MYTH: FEMA will buy me a new home

REALITY: FEMA has grant programs that can definitely help some people during this process. They help in the short term with some temporary costs and in the long-term rebuild process with grants where applicable. That being said, like SBA, they don't duplicate with insurance you already received, charities, or funds you receive from their sister agency. FEMA's average assistance per family in past disasters is less than $3,000. The absolute maximum anyone would qualify for is controlled by law at $42,500 from FEMA, though that would generally be for those that had no or little insurance, a large structural loss, and whom SBA denied.  That said, there are some NEW changes rolling out now in the program that are expected to increase FEMA assistance level for survivors even those with substantial insurance coverage or SBA involvement, more than in the past.

MYTH: I am NOT a business, why would I apply for SBA assistance?

REALITY: In short, SBA provides assistance to businesses AND to homeowners who went through a disaster that is a Presidential or Agency Declared Disaster, which this now is. The SBA can provide a low-interest loan to help cover the difference between what loss you had, (as they calculate it) and the insurance you received, if any.

MYTH: I have good credit, wouldn’t I get the higher rate that I see under “credit available elsewhere” on the SBA Fact Sheet? I will just talk to my banker instead

REALITY: The Fact Sheet lists multiple interest rates, but over 75% of SBA disaster recover home loans get the lowest rate shown there, even for those with very good credit. In fact, it was our experience in the last presidential declaration that ALL of the homeowners using SBA for complete rebuilds received the lowest rate shown. This is sometimes because if the loss is severe enough a local lender would not provide a loan sufficient due to the market value of the property relative to the loss and insurance proceeds. The lowest rate on the SBA fact sheet for this disaster is in fact an amazing 2.668% as we had expected. Loans up to 30 years make recovery possible for some that would have no path forward without this program. 


MYTH: I have bad credit, so SBA won’t give me a loan

REALITY: The SBA is generally MORE lenient than any local lender on credit, though they do have some minimum threshold. In general, their program is easier to qualify for than you may be thinking! There mission is to help people after a disaster who really need it. You need to apply and see.

MYTH: Applying for an SBA loan will hurt my credit if I don’t get an approval

REALITY: Applying for a loan that is not approved does NOT have any negative impact on your credit in the case of a denial. Future creditors also will NOT know the outcome of your application so it is always worth trying.

MYTH: On an SBA loan, I can’t afford any new payments, I could barely keep up on my payments before, so no sense in applying.

REALITY: In some circumstances, SBA can help you further by refinancing your old mortgage at their extremely low rate only available because of the Declaration. In these cases, your payment total may even end up the SAME AS YOUR OLD payment even though you have borrowed additional funds to cover the shortfall between your insurance and the loss from the disaster.


MYTH: FEMA will only help me with a month of temporary rental expense

REALITY: There are many components of FEMA help. Some of them REQUIRE that you apply to SBA, to get further rental assistance. Many people do not complete this. *This may change for disasters declared after 3/22 - see bottom.

MYTH: I am not going to apply to SBA until after I get done arguing with my insurance company

REALITY: There is a cutoff to when you can apply, which is July 1 for physical damage, and sometimes the insurance process is very long. You should also apply to SBA because some temporary assistance money from FEMA is limited if you haven’t applied to SBA. If you get an approval, you do NOT need to use it, and you get more time to figure it all out, past the normal application period, IF you applied in time.

MYTH: I was immediately denied by The SBA as they said I don’t have enough income to support a loan.

REALITY 1: If you only told them your hourly income, or if you gave them a monthly figure and didn’t realize there are 4.333 weeks in a month, instead of what you did taking your weekly check by 4, or you gave them net instead of gross income, etc, you may have more income than you indicated to them on your application.

REALITY 2: About 40% of all SBA applications are denied initially but can be turned into an approval through a process of Re-Consideration but you only get a couple of attempts. Let us see if we can help you, because knowing the rules is very important, and laying out the case to request assistance with new information that SBA will accept, may require special knowledge. There are at least 5 different types of situations where this is possible.

MYTH: I can learn everything I need at the Disaster Recovery Center

REALITY: There are many helpful people there, though as always, every person and conversation is unique. It is also our experience that if someone is a very helpful person at FEMA they know FEMA things. If you talk to a very good SBA person, they know SBA things, but often there is not a resource that knows how they fit TOGETHER, or what order is best for the steps between the agencies. WE CAN HELP.

MYTH: FEMA is the primary agency to help in total dollars to assist people in recovery

REALITY: From a dollar volume standpoint in 2023 the total SBA disaster assistance US wide was 52 Billion versus FEMA’s 1.3 Billion. SBA Disaster recovery funds are a loan and not a grant. Your full recovery may require some of both or both in combination with your insurance. In our experience in the 2007 flood in Findlay and Ottawa where homes were destroyed or substantially damaged, the SBA component was the largest single component in recovery for our clients.

MYTH: I was denied assistance by SBA, so that’s it, no help from them

REALITY: If after application, SBA denied your request for assistance on your primary residence, there are many cases we can overcome the denial with additional information and specialized knowledge of your particular situation. LET US HELP YOU.

MYTH: I was approved for a little bit by SBA, so that’s all they can do and it’s not enough

REALITY: The SBA loan size is a function of your stated intention, (which you are likely still determined what you want to do), your insurance proceeds, and the loss as identified by an SBA loss verifier after you apply and they come out. In many cases that amount can change with additional information about the loss, or a different stated intention. It can also be limited by the income information SBA was supplied and your other monthly obligations. We can look over the situation with you as we may be able to adjust things or provide additional documentation to get enough assistance to recover. LET US HELP YOU.

MYTH: The Insurance “dec” / declaration page amount, is ALL there is

REALITY: In many cases, your homeowners' policy may have provisions that aren’t obvious on the declaration page and are only stated in the main policy text which can be difficult to read. In addition, you may have “riders” which are add-on coverages that aren’t listed in the main policy text but in other documents which also can be difficult to interpret. The declaration page is only a small part of the information that should be reviewed to ensure everything is handled fully, and that the you are able to use all the insurance you paid a premium for all those years.  We have seen some situation where the total payout was almost 2X what the insurance declaration page Coverage A limit appeared to be at first glance, after looking into all of the language, riders, etc.  Every situation is unique. 

MYTH: My insurance check says “final” on it and is “settled” so that’s all there is

REALITY: Often your insurance company will give you an upfront check based on the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your loss minus your deductible. In many cases, you may also be entitled to certain "Recoverable Depreciation" after you incur the repair/rebuild cost. You can often make a supplemental claim against your policy long after you receive your ACV and even recoverable depreciation checks if it is for an items that are covered but were not listed in your estimate of loss originally completed with the initial claim or inspection. This is true for structure and contents.

MYTH: Every inspector of insurance and the federal agencies evaluate the repair/rebuild costs the same way

REALITY: The insurance company, the FEMA inspector, the SBA Loss Verifier, and in some cases the city inspectors, all have DIFFERENT ways of valuing the loss, DIFFERENT ways that they use the information they come up with, and DIFFERENT opportunities to contest the value if you don’t feel it is correct with different timeframes and procedures to appeal it.

MYTH: I have enough of a check from insurance I should just pay off my old mortgage to stop the payment - I can’t live there. Besides their name is on the check too.

REALITY: In many cases, you should NOT pay off the old lender even if you can do so, at least not initially. There are certain provisions available from SBA that aren’t possible if you completed a “voluntary payoff”. You can always pay them off your old lender later if you decide to, but you can’t “undo” it if you change your mind later finding out more information. We suggest you store it safely unsigned, perhaps in a safe deposit box, until you have ALL the information and have been through the process ideally with some knowledgable external help in considering your options.

MYTH: I have extreme damage but parts ofmy home are still standing. The insurance company gave me a REPAIR estimate themselves with the help of a contractor they knew, so that is what I have to do

REALITY: NO insurance company can dictate your method of repair OR replacement, and they CANT tell you what contractor you must use to do the work. You retain that control only.  You can replace/rebuild itnew instead of repair if the damage is considerable. and that makes the most sense. You should compare those two options, and even if you want relocation, in light of all the available assistance programs and how it looks financially, while also considering future energy, maintenance, and resale of a repaired/rebuilt  versus new home.

MYTH: My bank’s name is on my insurance check, I must give it to them and they will tell me what to do

REALITY: In our opinion, you should only provide the check to your lender with the stated written intention to “ESCROW FOR REPAIR” and have them document that they will do that, or hold onto it as indicated above, at least until you know all of your options including perhaps how a combination of insurance and SBA funds with a potential refinance are considered. You can always pay off the loan at your request later, but it is important to document the difference between a voluntary payoff and a demand by a lender, which in some cases they have the right to do so. That said, you need the paper trail as to what happened and if you can put the check in escrow for repair/rebuild, you preserve all your options while all the various inspectors can look at your situation and find some knowledgeable outside help.

MYTH: A public adjuster will solve all my problems and get the insurance company to give me a fair shake

REALITY: Depending upon who the public adjuster is, what their energy level, and how bad their workload is trying to help others, you MIGHT get extra things covered that otherwise wouldn’t, HOWEVER, they charge a fee for their services, and you generally have to provide 10% or more of ALL of your insurance proceeds to them, including the insurance proceeds you might have collected anyway.  This in many cases this can leave a shortfall in the end by that fee they charged you.  Further, know that the public adjusters do not know or advocate to help you with the SBA and FEMA process.

MYTH: I was not in Logan County, so I can’t get any help from FEMA and SBA

REALITY: The presidential declaration covers a large number of counties in Ohio - see map at bottom

MYTH: The SBA can’t help me as I was only a renter, and didn’t own a damaged home

REALITY: SBA covers both uninsured amounts of structure AND contents coverage. They could potentially give you a low-interest loan to replace contents over and above what your insurance paid even if you had renters insurance.  Your landlord who is a business may be able to use and SBA Disaster recovery loan to rebuild the rental and may have coverage for lost rent under an SBA EIDL loan (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) so you may want to mention that to them and be sure to file yourself with FEMA and SBA regarding your lost contents and potential assistance with the costs of new/temporary living assistance.

I have two homes, can I get any help? Your homeowners insurance will be tied to an address, and therefore it would apply to ANY home insured, that was impacted by the Tornado and we can help you regarding your insurance recovery as stated above.  From what we locate in SBA's program in particular, they do have some exclusions for homes that were "secondary", and at application SBA will be working to make an assessment of primary versus secondary home. If for instance you have a home that was damaged here in Ohio, and also have a home you go to in Florida just for the winter, then your primary home would be covered if hit by the Tornado in Ohio. However, if you have a primary home elsewhere in Ohio, and a "seasonal" home at the lake, the exclusion may apply for their program, unless some exception is made.  A primary home is indicated officially by things like your previous homestead exemption you may have registered for on your property taxes, the main address you listed on one of your previous income tax returns, child school registrations etc. SBA currently will need to see atleast one person of a couple demonstrate that the damaged address was their primary home.  There were some other changes made in January, that are being rolled into the federal programs now, that for instance expanded levels of FEMA assistance for those that had insurance, and we are trying to investigate if perhaps any of those brand new changes could help someone with considerable damage on a secondary home, but we haven't seen it yet.


  MYTH: FEMA can only help me with one months temporary rent

  MYTH: Because I had insurance I couldn’t get any help from FEMA or SBA

  MYTH: I can only get help from SBA and FEMA if I want to repair or rebuild in the same place

  MYTH: The longest loan SBA can provide is 7 years

  MYTH: The last thing I want to think about in a disaster is taxes and the IRS

  MYTH: SBA assistance is only for my home not contents

  MYTH: My business’s building was not damaged, but I have lost customers - I can't get help

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How else have we helped people in a past previous Declared natural disaster? :

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Newspaper Article reprint about our past help

also you can click below to call us if we can help you further


CHANGES (While the disaster was before 3/22, it was DECLARED after 3/22 so they should apply)

All ​​Ohio Disaster Counties in the Declaration:
Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Richland, Unionand Contiguous Counties

(other counties that may have been affected)Ohio: Allen, Ashland, Champaign, Clark, Coshocton, Fairfield, Franklin, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Knox, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Preble, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert, Wood, Wyandot

SBA OH20002 counties.jpg
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