Gov. Pat McCrory announced Wednesday financial assistance is available for survivors who suffered damages from the severe thunderstorms and flash flooding that struck Orange and adjoining counties June 30.
The aid is a result of the governor's request for a disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration, authorities said.
"The storms that moved through Orange County and surrounding areas caused severe damage to many communities," McCrory said in a statement. "While I'm inspired by the resilience of those who have been impacted, we want to make all resources available for recovery efforts. We requested this assistance to get the people and businesses of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and surrounding areas back on their feet."
McCrory sent the request for assistance to the SBA last week, officials said. Wednesday, he proclaimed a state disaster declaration enabling those who do not qualify for SBA loans to seek state funds to help them to recover.
While Orange is the only county that meets the threshold for SBA assistance, residents and business owners in the surrounding counties of Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, and Person counties can also apply for the federal assistance.
"We're going to do everything we can to help residents in these communities recover as quickly as possible," said Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan. "Recovery teams from the SBA and North Carolina Emergency Management will be at the disaster outreach center to help individuals complete their applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program and explain the application process."
A U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open on Friday at the University Mall located at 201 S. Estes Drive in Chapel Hill. The center will be open Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and next Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Loans up to $200,000 are available through the SBA to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed structures. Homeowners and renters also are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, appliances, etc. Storm victims in the designated counties who do not qualify for a federal loan may be eligible for a state grant.
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.
Interest rates are as low as 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.875 percent for non-profit organizations and four percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center can apply via the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community can call 800-877-8339.