Area homeowners and small business owners who saw property damage or economic injury resulting from heavy rains and flooding in January may now qualify for disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday that financial assistance would be available for those who suffered damages from severe thunderstorms and flooding which struck the High Country Jan. 30. "This will provide some much-needed help for those people whose belongings were destroyed by the flood waters," he said.
Governor McCrory sent a letter to the SBA on Tuesday, Feb. 12 requesting a disaster declaration for Watauga County. In accordance with SBA policy, residents and business owners in contiguous counties also may apply for federal funding help.
In an "administrative declaration of disaster for the state of North Carolina" dated Feb. 15, the SBA announced that "as a result of the (disaster) applications for disaster loans may be filed..."
Areas determined to be adversely affected by the disaster include Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Avery and Caldwell counties in N.C., and Johnson County, Tenn., according to the SBA.
An SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the Watauga County Administration building, 814 West King Street in Boone to help individuals complete their applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program and explain the application process. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 22 and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Homeowners and renters also are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses and non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million for physical damage. Working capital loans are also available to small businesses and most private non-profit organizations.
An online disaster loan application is available on the SBA's Website at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Printable forms for applying for disaster loans are available at: www.sba.gov/content/disaster-loan-paper-applications
Numbers assigned to this disaster for physical property damage is 13490 6. The number for economic injury is 13491 0.
Completed loan applications should be submitted to: U.S. Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center 14925 Kingsport Road Fort Worth, TX, 76115.
The application deadline for loans related to physical damage of property is April 16. The application deadline for economic injury loans is Nov. 15.
Lower interest rates are available for homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations with no available credit elsewhere.
Flood damage in Ashe County was not significant enough for to qualify for FEMA grants, said Ashe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill. "This could be the only assistance available" she said.
For more information, contact: A. Escobar, Office of Disaster Assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration 409 Third Street SW Suite 6050 Washington, DC, 20416 or call the SBA's disaster loan customer service at 1-800-659-2955.
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