Time is running out

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In October, Hurricane Matthew took an unexpected and deadly path along the Southeast coast, surprising area residents with torrential rains and widespread flooding.

What may have been even more surprising to those whose property was affected by the storm, however, were the cost of repairs and the amount of that cost that will not be covered by insurance.

Many of the homes and businesses that were flooded in Virginia were in areas not normally considered to be part of a flood zone, so owners of those homes and businesses were not protected by flood insurance.

Email newsletter signup

Officials with the U.S. Small Business Administration are working to make sure that those who suffered damage in the hurricane know that help could be available for them from the federal government.

The SBA has loans available that could help with repairing the damages, and another surprise is that those loans are not only for small businesses. In fact, homeowners, renters, private nonprofit organizations and businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to apply for the aid if they suffered damages.

The loans can be used to repair or replace real estate or personal property, including automobiles, that was damaged during the hurricane.

So far, 18 loans have been approved in Suffolk alone, with a total value of $642,000. Across the state, 347 loans have been approved for a total of $11.92 million since Hurricane Matthew.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for the residence and up to $40,000 for personal property. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million. The loans are subsidized by the federal government, which means they’re available at rates that are lower than the market value.

There are some requirements that applicants must meet, but the most pressing ones are the looming deadlines — Jan. 3 for homeowners, renters and businesses and Jan. 17 for nonprofit organizations.

Applying for the loan does not mean the applicant must accept it. Doing so simply gets the applicant in the pipeline, so there is nothing to lose by applying.

If your property was damaged during the storm, don’t wait to take advantage of this opportunity. Time is running out.