Help available for tornado victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that financial assistance is available for survivors of the tornadoes that struck Davidson and Randolph counties last week. The aid is a result of Perdue’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 get businesses back to normal,” Gov. Perdue said. “Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damages from the severe weather can apply for low-interest loans or grants.”
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 Davidson and Randolph counties who do not qualify for a federal loan may be eligible for a state grant of up to $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.
A U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center opened at noon today in Lexington to help individuals complete their applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program and explain the application process. The center is located at the Silver Valley Volunteer Fire Department, 11450 S. Highway 109 in Lexington. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, through Thursday, Dec. 1. The center will be closed this Thursday in recognition of Thanksgiving and on Sunday.
Severe storms and tornadoes rolled across the state Nov. 16, killing two people, causing more than a dozen injuries, destroying and damaging dozens of homes in Davidson and Randolph counties. Davidson County declared a local state of emergency that evening, and Randolph County did the same the following day. Damage assessment teams from the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management and the SBA helped local officials survey the damage. Those assessments did not meet the threshold for a presidential disaster declaration, but Perdue requested and received a SBA disaster declaration.
Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center can apply via the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or
The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Jan. 20, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Aug. 21, 2012.