- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

BALTIMORE (AP) - The number of Baltimore businesses known to have been damaged by riots and looting last week has reached about 300, state officials said Thursday.

The Department of Housing and Community Development is offering no-interest and low-interest loans to help business recover, agency officials said.

Assistant Secretary Carol A. Gilbert said the agency aims to process the loan applications within 30 days of receipt. Processing loan applications can normally take several months, said agency spokesman Wiley Hall.

The agency said no-interest loans of up to $35,000 are available for terms of one to five years under the Baltimore Business Recovery Loan Program, an emergency micro-loan program created in response to the disturbance.

Businesses with greater losses might qualify for another loan program meant to stimulate investment in older communities. Those loans can run as high as $500,000, with interest below market rates and repayment terms of up to 15 years, the agency said.

The violence came amid protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died April 19 from a spinal injury he received while in police custody.

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