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Small businesses still waiting on assistance following June flooding

Posted at 4:45 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 22:50:03-04

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Nearly $32.5 million in relief aid has already gone out to victims of the June 26 flood. However, some who have applied still haven't heard back.

Including Mary Ella Jones, the owner of Hot Yoga in Grosse Pointe Park, "This whole thing has been very stressful."

In the 20 years she's had her small business here she's never seen anything like this before.

When she got to work and opened her door, she knew something wasn't right.

"The studio office carpeting was completely soaked. I went into the yoga studio, which is about 1,700 square feet, and it looked like a disaster," said Mary Ella.

In the videos that Mary Ella took on her phone, there were puddles of water on her newly installed floor. She says the water was about knee-deep outside in the street and sidewalk, and it forced its way into her business.

It was closed for two weeks, and like many businesses, she was losing cash. But she was not the only one impacted. Several other businesses in the Grosse Pointe area were also hit hard by the June flood.

Mary Ella reached out to FEMA for help. Her total cost in damages is nearly $30,000. While she applied for the loan, which is done through the Small Business Administration, she's still waiting to hear back.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman advised folks in a press conference today who have been personally impacted by the floodwaters or are having other problems like being denied or the wait is taking longer than usual.

"They should definitely come to one of these centers, and we have people on the ground here ready to walk them through a potential reconsideration of what's the challenge. So I'd definitely encourage folks to pursue all options."

For Mary Ella, though, while a loan might be helpful, she doesn't have the money right now to put her floor back in.

"Well, it would be nice to have a grant where I can just have the money to put the floor back in. Because we don't have insurance coverage, and It's all out of pocket. So rather than be burdened with another loan. It would be much better to have a grant."

FEMA has opened the disaster centers at the following locations:

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Sunday

Golightly Career and Technical Center
900 Dickerson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48215

Henry Ford Centennial Library
16301 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, MI 48126

Maplewood Community Center
31735 Maplewood Street
Garden City, MI 48135

Kemeny Recreation Center
2260 S. Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48217

Eton Senior Recreation Center
4900 Pardee Avenue
Dearborn Heights, MI 48125

Ypsilanti Township Civic Center
7200 S. Huron River Drive
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Grosse Pointe Public Safety Building
17320 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe, MI 48230