Governor signs state disaster declaration; SBA opens help centers in Ocracoke, Buxton

Just one example of the major devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian on Ocracoke Sept. 6. Many islanders, both residents and business owners, lost everything. [Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a disaster declaration Thursday that will allow the state to offer grants to residents of 14 counties that suffered losses in Hurricane Dorian if they are turned down for U.S. Small Business Administration loans.

The SBA is also opening Disaster Outreach Centers in Ocracoke and Buxton on Friday staffed by representatives to help answer questions and assist with disaster loan applications.

“Today’s state disaster declaration will help North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Dorian get vital assistance necessary to recover,” said Cooper.

At the Governor’s request, the U.S. Small Business Administration granted a disaster declaration for Carteret, Dare, Hyde and New Hanover and the contiguous counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Craven, Currituck, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Tyrrell and Washington, allowing affected residents to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans.

Low-interest federal loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to 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.

With the signing of the state disaster declaration, the governor authorizes individual assistance in the form of state-funded grants to be made available to affected individuals who do not meet the qualifications for an SBA loan or who have damages not covered by insurance.

Recovery centers will open at 11 a.m. Friday and remain open through October 31 for residents to apply for assistance. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and closed on Sunday.

The Ocracoke center is located in the Variety Store parking lot, and the Buxton center at the Old PNC Bank at the corner of N.C. 12 and Buxton Back Road.

Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at DisasterLoan.sba.gov and brought to the recovery centers. Residents with questions about state-funded individual assistance can call 919-825-2378.

The SBA disaster request and state disaster declaration follow FEMA’s denial of North Carolina’s request for Individual Assistance on October 8.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.