SBA to provide help to eastern Oklahoma storm victims

The U.S. Small Business Administration has okayed disaster assistance sought by the state from the tornadoes and severe storms that hit eastern Oklahoma on November 30.

Governor Mary Fallin announced residents and business owners in Cherokee County are eligible for the help.

The designation provides SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners in Cherokee County to replace any property damaged by the storm that was not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. The loan program is also available to assist businesses that sustained economic harm due to the storm.

Under SBA rules, the contiguous counties of Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Muskogee, Sequoyah and Wagoner are also eligible for assistance.

The state requested the SBA declaration in coordination with the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee County on Dec. 17 after damage assessments found more than 90 homes and businesses affected by the storm in that county alone. Of those, 58 homes and businesses with major damage were identified as uninsured, and may be eligible for SBA’s program.

Homeowners, renters and business owners can apply online for SBA low-interest disaster loans at or by calling (800) 659-2955.

A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open at the Cookson Volunteer Fire Department, 21642 W. Cookson Bend Road in Cookson, where SBA officials will be available to assist individuals complete applications, explain the process and answer questions. The outreach center will open from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, and will remain open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays through Thursday, Jan. 10.

Additionally, Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) will host a Multi-Agency Resource Center at the Cookson United Methodist Church, 21685 Cookson Bend Road in Cookson, from 1 to 6 p.m. Dec. 28 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 29. Numerous voluntary agencies and other organizations will be on site to provide assistance to residents impacted by the storms. Contact American Red Cross at (918) 691-1100 to request assistance or get more information about the resource center.