(CBS DETROIT) — The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) granted an administrative declaration of disaster for Otsego County after a deadly tornado in May, also after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s request for a major disaster declaration.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday the SBA’s disaster assistance program provides low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that were damaged or destroyed.

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The declaration includes Otsego County and all adjacent counties such as Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Kalkaska, Montmorency and Oscoda.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Michigan with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a press release. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

Whitmer declared a state of emergency following the EF-3 tornado on May 20 in the Gaylord area.

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Two people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in the disaster, destroying homes and businesses and causing millions of dollars in property damage.

On June 8, Whitmer asked President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster in the county. However, that request was denied on July 2 by FEMA, the governor said on Wednesday.

Whitmer says she sent a letter to SBA on July 8.

“This declaration is an important step in getting the necessary support and resources to the Gaylord community,” Whitmer said in a press release. “It is clear this tornado had devastating impacts in Otsego County. These loans will allow people and businesses to begin rebuilding and will ensure the community continues to move forward.”

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