- Associated Press - Saturday, May 27, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The loan application period has opened for flood-damaged small businesses and nonprofits seeking aid from a $51 million new program.

The Restore Louisiana Small Business Program was created by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration, using dollars earmarked by Congress for rebuilding after the March and August 2016 floods.

The program offers partially-forgivable loans between $20,000 and $50,000 to qualified businesses. If borrowers comply with the requirements, the loan will be interest-free and 20 percent will be forgiven when the first 80 percent of the loan is repaid.

The first slice of money will go to businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, health care providers, day care centers and others deemed to provide essential goods and services to flood-damaged communities.

Applications will be accepted through June 30, with loans starting in mid-July.

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