Homeowners whose residence suffered damage from Hurricane Florence can apply for a special kind of SBA loan to make repairs to or replace damaged property, an official with the U.S. Small Business Administration said Friday.
"We are a direct lender, different from the regular SBA, which makes guaranteed loans through approved lenders," James Rivera, associate administrator for the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), said during a conference call. "We [the ODA] have our own bank, which I run."
Rivera said that 90 percent of the loans made through that SBA bank are direct loans to homeowners, especially to those who are uninsured or underinsured to cover their loss. Renters may also apply for a loan to cover loss of personal property.
To be eligible, he pointed out, homeowners and renters must live in a federally designated disaster area. Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, as well as many counties to the west and north in the state, are so designated.
"Even if you have insurance, you can apply with us for a loan to get money right away, and we will straighten out the insurance coverage later," Rivera said.
Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence; secondary homes or vacation properties are not eligible for assistance, according to the SBA website
. The loans may not be used to upgrade homes or make additions, unless required by local building code.
"If you make improvements that help prevent the risk of future property damage caused by a similar disaster, you may be eligible for up to a 20 percent loan amount increase above the real estate damage, as verified by the SBA," the website states.
Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to replace or repair personal property — clothing, furniture, cars and appliances — damaged or destroyed in a disaster.
In addition to the Home and Personal Property Loans, the SBA also makes Business Physical Disaster Loans
as well as Economic Injury Disaster Loans
to companies whose business is interrupted by natural disaster damage to suppliers and/or vendors.
Rivera said that the deadline for applications for Home and Personal Property Loans and for Small Business disaster loans is Nov. 13. The deadline for economic injury loans is June 4, 2019.