Dare, Hyde residents & businesses eligible for FEMA help

By on October 13, 2016

Michael Beswick photo

The federal government has given approval to 23 counties in North Carolina, including Dare, Hyde, Gates and Bertie, for individual residents to get financial help to repair or replace homes and businesses lost in Hurricane Matthew.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing, essential home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

The initial information submitted to the federal agency included pictures and documentation, and estimated some 4,000 properties sustained $40 million in damage in Dare County alone.

“These numbers will likely increase as damage assessment teams continue to work in the field,” according to a Dare County statement Thursday. Numbers from other counties were still pending.

After Hurricane Irene in August 2011, it took just over four days from the time the storm moved out for most counties in the northeast and along the Outer Banks to be included in the FEMA individual assistance declaration.

Dare County manager Bobby Outten said the larger-scale FEMA disaster designations were already in place, allowing Dare to tap federal funds for damage to public infrastructure such as roads, water mains and even beach sand placed under nourishment projects.

Nags Head town manager Cliff Ogburn said state officials and Army Corps of Engineers personnel toured Nags Head beaches Wednesday and will submit their recommendations soon.

Ogburn added that it would take some time before Nags Head will know if enough sand was lost in the storm to qualify for replacement funds, and even if losses are documented, there is no guarantee such funding will be approved.

If it turns out Nags Head beaches are eligible for funding, Ogburn noted it would most likely be applied to the next beach nourishment cycle in the town, anticipated to occur in 2018 or 2019.

Since the Expedited Major Disaster on October 10, the federal government has already disbursed $2.6 million to disaster survivors in North Carolina through the Individual Assistance Program. To date, more than 14,000 North Carolinians have already registered for this assistance.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced that Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available in the same counties the FEMA designation has been approved.

The governor has instructed the Division of Employment Security to not enforce the one-week waiting period and job search requirements for people whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Matthew.

Workers who became unemployed as a direct result of the effects of the storm may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. Business owners affected by the storm may also qualify for benefits.

McCrory also announced Thursday that the federal government has approved $5 million of early release federal highway funds for emergency repairs in North Carolina.

How to apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance
Homeowners, renters and business owners in 23 counties are eligible to apply for assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Households Program. They are Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne and Wilson counties.

Other counties are gathering the necessary documentation and may be added later, and residents in those counties can also start the application process.

Residents can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov, 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Disaster Recovery Centers also will be opening in flood-impacted communities during the next several weeks for those who would like to talk with someone in person.

Small Business Administration

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.

Business and nonprofits can apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans for working capital, known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage.

Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including automobiles.

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in many of the counties listed above also may apply for SBA Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

For information or to request application forms, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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