Federal agencies provide recovery assistance

Published 9:23 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The federal government is ramping up disaster assistance and post-disaster aid programs in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations in Beaufort County and nine other counties in North Carolina adversely affected by Hurricane Matthew are eligible for assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The assistance is in the form of disaster loans for physical property damage and economic injury. The deadline to apply for assistance with physical property damage is Dec. 9. The deadline for economic injury applications is July 10, 2017.

For businesses, interest rates on loans can be as low as 4 percent. For private nonprofit groups, interest rates on loans can be as low as 2.625 percent. Loans for homeowners and renters may have interest rates as low as 1.563 percent. Payback terms could be up to 30 years.

For more information on SBA disaster assistance, visit www.sba.gov/offices/disaster/dacsc.

Beaufort County farmers, livestock producers and agricultural operations that suffered crop damage and other damage caused by Hurricane Matthew have several disaster assistance programs that could help them recover, said Leigh Hester, county executive director of the Beaufort-Hyde Farm Service Agency in Washington.

FSA, a federal agency, also offers low-interest loans to assist in recovery efforts in the aftermath of qualifying natural disasters.

At least eight aid programs are offered by FSA, including help with crop loss, livestock loss and tree loss. Emergency assistance is available for honeybee operations and fish farms.

For details on the FSA disaster assistance programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ or call the FSA office in Washington at 252-946-1076.

For those who don’t have access to telephone or Internet service to use to register for assistance, Federal Emergency Management Agency survivor-assistance specialists will arrive in the area soon to help people register for assistance.

Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered losses or damages caused by Matthew should call 1-800- 621-3362 to register for assistance or go online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov and register by downloading FEMA’s mobile app, according to a news release. For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, the number is also 1-800- 621-3362. For people using TTY, the number is 1-800- 462-7585. These toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Operators are ready to assist people in multiple languages.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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