Federal loans, state grants available for flood victims

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 17, 2013 

  • Financial help

    The U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open at noon Friday in Suite A10 at University Mall.

    Homeowners could qualify for 30-year loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged buildings and up to $40,000 for damaged property, including clothing and appliances, at interest rates as low as 1.875 percent. Businesses and nonprofit groups can apply for 30-year loans of up to $2 million at roughly 4 percent and 2.875 percent, respectively.

    The center will remain open through July 25 from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 22-25. Applicants also can call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Hearing-impaired residents can call 800-877-8339.

  • Donations welcome

    St. Thomas More Catholic Church, the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, The Green Chair Project and the Triangle chapter of the American Red Cross will hold a donation drive Saturday for Orange County’s flood victims.

    Anyone wanting to donate furniture and other household items should bring them by the church between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. The church is at 940 Carmichael St., Chapel Hill. A simultaneous collection will be held at The Green Chair Project, 1853 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.

    A list of acceptable items can be found online at bit.ly/189NYY8.

    To make a monetary donation, make checks payable to Catholic Charities, 902 Broad St., Durham, NC 27702. Write “Flood Relief” in the subject line.

— Flood victims in southern Orange County can start applying Friday for federal disaster recovery loans, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Wednesday.

The decision came a week after U.S. Small Business Administration officials toured damaged homes and businesses. A loan outreach center will open at noon Friday in Suite A10 at University Mall to provide information and help residents, businesses and nonprofit groups apply.

Homeowners could be eligible for 30-year loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged buildings, and up to $40,000 for damaged property, including clothing and appliances, at interest rates as low as 1.875 percent. Businesses and nonprofit groups can apply for up to $2 million at roughly 4 percent and 2.875 percent, respectively.

The loan amounts and terms will be based on individual financial situations.

The governor also issued a state disaster declaration Wednesday that will help those who don’t qualify for the SBA loans to seek state grant money.

“The storms that moved through Orange County and surrounding areas caused severe damage to many communities,” McCrory said. “While I’m inspired by the resilience of those who have been impacted, we want to make all resources available for recovery efforts.”

At least 150 households in Chapel Hill and Carrboro were damaged or condemned after a storm June 30 dumped more than 5 inches of rain in just a few hours.

While Orange was the only county that met the SBA’s threshold for assistance, residents and business owners in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham and Person counties also may apply. The SBA includes surrounding areas to make sure those on the fringes of a declared disaster area have access to help, state officials said.

The state and federal money will come at a critical time in Orange County’s recovery effort. While property owners have offered some rental housing for relocated flood victims, the real need is for one-bedroom units, which are in short supply, said Tara Fikes, director of the Housing, Human Services and Community Development Department.

Some people who have been living in hotels paid for by the American Red Cross are running out of time; others are still living with friends and family. A few have moved back into their flooded homes to help rebuild, particularly at the Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park in Carrboro, officials said.

At Camelot Village, where some of the worst damage occurred, Chapel Hill town staff is working with the property manager this week to remove waterlogged furniture and personal belongings that have been piled outside for nearly three weeks. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Bosworth, the town’s emergency coordinator, said the town doesn’t typically clean up private property, but they made an exception after securing a liability agreement with the Camelot Village HOA, he said.

The work is slow and tedious, because the workers have to separate recyclable items from trash by hand. It will take at least another week, property manager Joel Duvall said.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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