BELLEFONTE — The 29 residents of the Hotel Do De who lost their beds, clothing, TVs and more in the fire Sept. 9 can apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration to replace those items.
The SBA has set up shop in the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte where people who suffered a loss from the fire can get information about the loan program and apply for a loan.
The temporary center has been open since earlier this week and will be open today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday of next week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signs are posted inside the building to guide people to the center.
So far, four renters from the Do De have applied, said Mike Peele, an SBA representative who was manning the loan center this week. Two of the four renters came in Friday, he said.
The loans are available because the SBA declared a disaster for this area.
That started with recommendations from the state Emergency Management Agency to Gov. Tom Corbett, said Jody Lair, the county’s deputy EMA director. Corbett got the recommendations and requested the declaration from the SBA.
Similar programs were available for people affected by the Cadillac Building fire in Bellefonte in 2009 and a multiple-building fire in downtown Philipsburg in 2005.
Hotel Do De renters who have no credit available can apply for up to $40,000 at an interest rate of 1.688 percent.
Business loans, up to $2 million, are available at an interest rate of 4 percent.
The deadline to apply for this kind of loan is Nov. 20.
People who suffered what the SBA calls “economic injury” — or money lost, for example, from rental income — can apply for loans at 4 percent interest.
The deadline to apply for that kind of loan is June 21.
Meanwhile, Bellefonte Fire Chief Tim Schreffler said Friday the investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
The owner of the Hotel Do De, John Dann Sr., has said he will demolish the building.
Bellefonte officials said the cupola has to be removed immediately because it’s a public safety hazard.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter@MikeDawsonCDT.