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Recovery Toolbox: Assistance For Businesses After The Storm

By Johanna Cano, posted Oct 3, 2018
Hurricane Florence has left many businesses and residents in the area with damages that range from simple repairs to more complicated and time-consuming ones.

There are many steps that affected residents can take to rebuild and recover and resources that can help them along the way.

Here are some resources that can come in handy for affected residents.

St. Bernard Project
The disaster relief nonprofit organization has a mold remediation guide that goes through an effective mold remediation process step-by-step. The guide states that homeowners should not have to spend thousands of dollars on mold remediation.

NC Community Foundation
The NCCF is establishing a disaster relief fund. Donations are distributed to nonprofits that serve the community. All contributions are tax-deductible, and no portion of donations will be used for administrative or operational expenses. For more information on the fund visit the foundation’s website.

Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
The chamber is compiling a list of available properties that could be rented for a long-term period by people who were displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Florence as well as emergency crews. Anyone who has a property available for rent can email Lexie Alston.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The foundation as a small business recovery expanded guide with tips for recovery, checklists, additional resources, recovery guidance on insurance, federal assistance and tax relief and mental health. Visit the website for the full guide.

United Policyholders
The nonprofit has a guide on some of the best practices for communicating with insurance companies so the claim process and getting the most benefits is easier. Some of its tips include thinking on your insurance claim as a business negotiation, present clear requests in writing and don’t pad or exaggerate your claim.Visit the website for their tips.

Helping Employees Affected by Natural Disasters
Vita Companies has created a guide for employers on how they can help their employees after a natural disaster. Information on pay, working from home, notification, helping, safety and emotional support is highlighted, including what some of the key legal issues are. Read the guide here.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae have mortgage relief options for homeowners whose home or place of work was impacted by a natural disaster like Hurricane Florence.  Some relief options include forbearance on the mortgage payment for one year, suspension of foreclosure for up to one year, waiving assessments of penalties or late fees and not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to credit bureaus. If your loan is owned by Freddie Mac, get more information here. If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae, get more information here.

Carolina Small Business Development Fund
The fund’s Florence Recovery Loan has low-interest loans of up to $25,000 for businesses affected by the storm. The loan can be used as working capital for operations or for repairs. First six months of the loan are at 0% interest and with no payments. To be eligible, businesses should document physical damage or economic injury from the storm and the business must have at least one employee including the owner. Visit the fund’s website for more information or apply online.

N.C. Realtors Housing Foundation
The foundation will provide $550,000 in housing grants to help residents affected by Hurricane Florence. The grant will pay for one month’s rent or mortgage payment, up to $1,500 for those affected by the storm. For more information visit the website or apply online here.

Corning Credit Union
Disaster relief personal loans are available to members at discounted rates. It is also offering payment relief on select loans. Visit the credit union’s website for more information.

N.C. Home Builders Association
The association’s Board of Directors established the Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Fund to aid members of the NCHBA in recovery. For more information visit the association’s website.

Hurricane Florence Financial Remediation Seminars for Homeowners
There will be three seminars hosted by KBT Group and Keller Williams Realty to provide information and financial options to homeowners. At the seminar, there will be various industry professionals including Steve Wilde from Wilde Law Firm, Richard Cook from Cape Fear Debt Relief and Scott D’Anci, owner of ASD Environmental. The seminars will be on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church at 800 Pine Road. The two-hour sessions will start at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. For more information visit the event post.

N.C Division of Coastal Management
Many coastal counties, including New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties, are eligible for an emergency general permit that can be used to replace docks, piers or bulkheads. The permit can also be used for dune reconstruction and maintenance dredging of channels. The $200 permit fee will be waived. People may still need to eliminate the need to obtain any other required state, local or federal authorization. Visit the website for more information.

Golden Leaf Foundation
The foundation is managing the distribution of N.C. Disaster Relief funds to projects in communities affected by Hurricane Florence. Grants are awarded to nonprofits and units of local government. The funds would assist projects that provide direct relief or recovery for survivors of Hurricane Florence. Visit the website for more information.

Credit card holders with the bank may request a 30-day deferral on payments due on their September or October statement. Certain credit card fees may also be refunded or waived. Personal credit card clients can call them at 800-476-4228. Commercial and small business credit card clients can call them at 800-397-1253.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Disaster Help Desk can assist small business owners with various aspects of the recovery process. (888) My-Biz-Help
U.S. Small Business Administration
Businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, homeowners and renters in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties are eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA.

U.S. Small Business Administration – Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
The SBA opened a Business Recovery Center at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce at 1 Estelle Lee Drive. There are SBA representatives at the Center that can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The Center is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for physical damage and working capital. If not able to go to the Center, business owners can apply online.

Call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 (for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (800) 877-8339) or email [email protected] for more details on the loan application process.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 13, 2018.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.

Department of Homeland Security
By filling out its “Find Assistance” questionnaire individuals and business owners can get a list of assistance programs and loans they may be eligible for.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Business and Industry Loans: loan guarantees for rural businesses including nonprofits that can be used for business repairs. 
Farm Service Agency
The U.S. Department of Agriculture agency offers funding and loans for farmers and ranchers. To apply or for more info go to the Pender County Farm Service Agency in Burgaw or through its website.
• Emergency Conservation Program: funding and assistance to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters. Apply at the Pender County Farm Service Agency in Burgaw.
• Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: FSA offers payments to producers of eligible crops to protect against low yields due to a natural disaster. More info at the Pender County Farm Service Agency in Burgaw.
• Farm Operating Loans: Farm Service Agency offers loans for operating costs such as buying feed, paying family living expenses and minor improvements and repairs.
• Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program: provides emergency assistance funds that can cover losses due to weather. More info at the Pender County Farm Service Agency in Burgaw.
• Tree Assistance Program: provides payments to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers after a natural disaster
• Livestock Indemnity Program: The FSA program offers payments to livestock producers for animal deaths caused by bad weather.
U.S. Department of Treasury
Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program for Individuals and Businesses. Individuals and businesses in federally declared disaster areas can get a faster refund by claiming disasters on their tax returns.
• The Individual and Households Program: Qualified individuals can get housing assistance money for necessary housing-related expenses caused by a disaster as well as for needs such as personal property, childcare, medical expenses, transportation among others.
National Flood Insurance Program: NFIP policyholders should file a claim with their insurer, prepare for inspection, work with an adjuster and complete proof of loss. 

Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association
The Association has set up a post-storm resource page for its members and the general public. It has compiled a list of resources to aid those who have been negatively affected by the storm. There is also a directory of contractors, which can help people avoid scams.
N.C. Licensing Board for General Contractors
The NCLBGC website can help with finding licensed contractors for hurricane repairs in homes or businesses. There are also resources and a brochure on how to avoid scammers and get the best contractor for the job.

Small Business and Technology Development Center
The counseling staff at the SBTDC at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, 803 S. College Road, can help business owners with assessing the financial impact on their business, reconstruct financial statements, explore options with creditors, prepare emergency bridge loan and/or SBA disaster loan application. The center also has a flyer with tips on some of the first steps business owners and people can take.
The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thread Capital
The nonprofit subsidiary of the Rural Center is providing rapid recovery loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses and family farms. The loans are not a primary source of assistance for small businesses, eligibility for funding is dependent on the use of other funding sources, including SBA loans. Visit its website to learn more or apply online.

Adam Shay CPA, PLLC
The accounting and business services office is hosting free business roundtables for business owners to discuss things they are doing and could be doing to survive the economic impacts of Hurricane Florence. The roundtables will be hosted throughout the next couple of months. Email them at [email protected].

N.C Division of Employment Security
Business owners in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties are eligible for disaster unemployment assistance. If you are self-employed and lost income due to Hurricane Florence, became injured during the disaster and were unable to work or you could not reach your self-employed business due to travel affected by the disaster you could be eligible for assistance. The easiest way to file a claim is online. Claims can also be filled by phone at (866) 795-8877.

New Hanover County
The County’s Building Safety Department is issuing emergency repair permits at no charge through Nov. 30. Permits are required for electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. Emergency permits can be submitted by emailing project address, contractor name and phone number, contact name and phone number, the scope of work and information on inspection readiness to [email protected]. Permits can also be acquired at 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 170 and 1121 N. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach, or by phone at 798-7304.

Arts Council of Wilmington
The council has a page dedicated to resources available to artists impacted by the disaster in the council's website. One resource includes the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), which provides emergency grants and loans to craft artists. To be eligible, the artist must work in a craft discipline and have an art career where they get the majority of their livelihood from. To learn more or apply, visit CERF's website.

Recovery Resources 
The Greater Wilmington Business Journal created a Recovery Resources website, which allows business owners to input their company’s information and how their service can help people during recovery. Through this resource, readers can sort through categories and find the business they need. 
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