Governor Roy Cooper has received the U.S. Small Business Administration disaster declaration he requested to help residents and business owners in southeastern North Carolina recover from the straight line winds and severe storms that struck Sampson County May 29.

“This was a powerful storm that pounded Sampson County, damaging homes, farms and other businesses,” Governor Cooper said. “Local officials responded to the storm immediately and are doing an excellent job leading the initial recovery efforts. Now the community needs our help to recover.”

Homeowners and business owners can apply to the SBA for low-interest federal loans of up to $200,000 to help them repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Storm survivors who do not qualify for the loans may be eligible for smaller state grants to help them replace essential belongings.

The damaging thunderstorms toppled trees, blocked roads, damaged agricultural property and caused major damage to at least 25 homes and businesses in Sampson County. It was the second time in a week that severe storms impacted the county.

Residents in adjacent counties – Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Johnston, Pender and Wayne – who suffered storm damages also can apply for the loans.

State and local officials have been working closely together during the past two weeks to survey damage and capture storm-related costs to determine what types, if any, of state and federal assistance may be available. Governor Cooper last week submitted a request to the SBA for federal assistance. The level of damage did not meet the threshold for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

North Carolina Emergency Management and SBA’s customer service representatives will staff a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) beginning tomorrow to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications. The DLOC will be open in the Sampson County Exposition Center, 414 Warsaw Road in Clinton.

The help center opens Friday, June 16 at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., then again Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.. The center will be closed Sunday, June 18 but will be open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The final day the DLOC will be open is Thursday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Interest rates are as low as 3.215 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Survivors may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at Loan information and applications also may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing [email protected].



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