Loans still available for flood damage
by Kellen Moore
The U.S. Small Business Administration has closed its temporary office in Boone, but victims of the Jan. 30 flood in Watauga County still have at least seven weeks to apply for loans.
The massive rainstorm caused more than $1 million in damage, according to estimates from the N.C. Division of Emergency Management.
SBA representatives set up shop Wednesday through Saturday in the Watauga County Administrative Building and saw 18 people during that time, spokesman Richard Daigle said.
Daigle said Tuesday he wasn't sure how many residents had applied for loans so far.
The SBA is offering three types of loans:
-- Home disaster loans: Available to homeowners or renters to repair or replace real estate or personal property, including automobiles.
-- Business physical disaster loans: Available to businesses to repair or replace real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities and churches also may be eligible.
-- Economic injury disaster loans: Available to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit organizations to meet financial obligations that can't be met as a result of the flooding.
The application deadline for physical damage loans is April 16, while the deadline for economic injury loans is Nov. 15.
In the case of apartment damage, both the renter and the property owner may apply for loans if desired.
"What is typical for most disasters is that we see a lot more people who need help with their home as opposed to business," Daigle said.
Interest rates vary from 1.688 percent to 4 percent based on the type of loan and whether the applicant has credit available elsewhere.
Approved applicants may also be able to receive money for improvements to protect properties from future damage.
Residents of Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Wilkes counties may apply, as well as residents of Johnson County, Tenn.
"The main message, of course, that we're trying to get out to people is for them to apply," Daigle said. "They do not have to accept the loan."