Longmont approves flood repair micro-loans — Longmont Times-Call

Flooding St. Vrain River September, 2013 via Voice of America
Flooding St. Vrain River September, 2013 via Voice of America

From the Longmont Times-Call (Karen Antonacci):

[Longmont City Council approved] a micro-loan program designed to assist 2013 flood victims who still need financial help…

Besides more low-income housing options, Longmont residents also have a need for a micro-loan program to help fill funding gaps for flood repair and recovery, Fedler told the council.

“These are folks that are coming up $4,000 to $5,000 short sometimes, and these are folks that struggle with credit, or have low incomes, etc., and so going to a bank to borrow the funds isn’t necessarily something they can do,” Fedler said, adding that the micro-loans would apply to people who have already maxed out available sources of funding through charity or other flood recovery programs.

The loan program works with the city and a yet-unnamed bank working to share the risk if a resident defaults on the loan. The city would carry half of the cost, and the bank the other half.

Fedler said the bank cannot be named yet because officials are still negotiating about the micro-loan program.

The program would not have a separate application process and would go out to people who the city identified through other assistance programs. Fedler said she hopes the micro-loan program could begin in early 2015.

Mayor Dennis Coombs and other City Council members expressed concerns that the loans, however small, would go to people who never gained enough financial literacy to handle money…

Fedler assured Coombs and the council that residents going through the micro-loan program would be vetted with credit checks and considered on a case-by-case basis in addition to undergoing financial counseling with the Boulder County housing counseling program.

Council member Brian Bagley said on his first reading of the loan program, he thought it sounded terrible, but he eventually warmed up to what he called an “experimental” idea.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

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