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.
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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.