Gov. Bev Perdue announced Thursday, Jan. 19, that financial assistance is available for survivors of the tornadoes that struck Burke and Rutherford counties last week. The aid is a result of the governor’s request for a disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“We are aggressively pursuing all possible assistance to help families repair their homes and begin rebuilding their lives,” Perdue said. “Homeowners and renters who suffered damages from the severe weather can apply for low-interest loans or grants.”
Two U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Centers opened at noon Thursday in Ellenboro and Hildebran to help individuals complete their applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program and explain the application process.
Loans up to $200,000 are available through the SBA to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters also are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Storm victims in Burke and Rutherford counties who do not qualify for a federal loan may be eligible for a state grant of up to a maximum of $30,400 to help pay for housing and other essential needs. The state grants were made available as a result of the governor’s disaster declaration for those two counties.
Severe storms and tornadoes rolled across the state Jan. 11, injuring 15 people, destroying 25 homes and damaging dozens of others in Burke and Rutherford counties. Both counties declared a local state of emergency the evening of the storms. Damage assessment teams from North Carolina Emergency Management and the SBA helped local officials survey the damage Jan. 13. Those assessments did not meet the threshold for a presidential disaster declaration, but Gov. Perdue requested and received a SBA disaster declaration.
Interest rates are as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.