Gov. Wolf Launches Financial Lifeboats for Bucks County Flood Victims, Just Not the Kind They Expected

Bucks County flood victims belongings drying in the Bristol sun.
Image via Gov. Tom Wolf at Creative Commons.
Bucks County flood victims' belongings drying in the Bristol sun. Governor Wolf is pointing residents to help through the Small Business Administration.
Gov. Tom Wolf, touring Bristol on July 16, 2021,
viewing flood damage firsthand.
Image via Gov. Tom Wolf at Creative Commons.

The recent Bucks County flood was bad. But not bad enough for direct, federal payments to affected residents. Kate Fishman explains why in the Bensalem Patch.

Gov. Wolf issued a statement explaining the administration’s response to the deluge of rainwater that swamped Bristol and Bensalem on July 12.

Direct assistance from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is not appropriate in the scenario created in the Bucks County flood.

Information from Harrisburg indicated that the damage did not reach the level of severity for individual assistance to be paid directly to affected residents.

Several factors determine that threshold, including statewide resource availability, the extent of uninsured home and property losses, infrastructure impacts, and the numbers of citizens missing, injured, or killed.

In its place, Gov. Wolf has arranged help from the SBA Disaster Loan Program.

Renters and homeowners are eligible for $200,000 in low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged real estate.

Businesses and nonprofits can borrow $2 million to cover losses.

Repayments are designed to be long term (maximum of 30 years) to keep them affordable. The SBA uses borrowers’ abilities to pay and their individual circumstances to set the loans’ other specifics.

The SBA is opening a Disaster Loan Outreach Center today, August 2, at the Lower Bucks Government Services Center, 7321 New Falls Rd., Levittown, for application help.

Residents can obtain applications from the SBA’s Customer Service Center by phone (800.659.2955) or email.

More on this story is at the Bensalem Patch.