Disaster declarations offer assistance to victims of Marco Polo building fire

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), at the request of Gov. David Ige, have issued formal disaster declarations for the Marco Polo high-rise fire.

This action will make low-interest federal disaster loans available to Marco Polo owners and tenants in need.

On Friday, July 14, a massive seven-alarm fire broke out in the 36-story building on Kapiolani Boulevard, killing three people.

Officials say approximately 270 of 568 units suffered damage from fire, smoke, heat and water. A damage assessment by the SBA found that 64 units suffered uninsured losses of more than 40 percent of each unit’s property value.

“These disaster declarations will support victims of the Marco Polo fire with low-interest loans and insurance claim assistance,” said Caldwell. “In addition to the lives tragically lost, hundreds of residents and owners suffered property damage in the fire and the city, state, and federal government must work together to help them recover.”

SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Marco Polo Apartments beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. The office will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until it closes permanently at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28. No appointment is necessary.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said, “SBA is strongly committed to providing Hawaii with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster. Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

Federal officials will meet one-on-one with interested owners and tenants and discuss their specific needs. For some eligible applicants, the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program provides a more manageable repayment program than traditional financial institutions.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications here.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for property damage is Nov. 13, 2017. The deadline to apply for economic injury is June 11, 2018.

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