More funds available to property owners affected by Hurricane Matthew

Published 6:08 pm Monday, March 27, 2017

In the months since Hurricane Matthew devastated eastern North Carolina, there is money available to help eligible homeowners whose homes were substantially damaged receive funds to make their homes safer and stronger.

To be eligible, local building officials must determine a homeowner’s structure was severely damaged. Someone rebuilding or repairing a damaged home or business may be required by the local government to elevate the home or business, and possibly make the changes.

“Substantial damage applies when the cost of restoring a structure equals or exceeds 50 percent of its pre-damage market value. However, some communities have regulations that are more restrictive. Check with your local building officials or community flood-plain administrator for more information,” according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency news release. “If the substantial damage is solely from flooding, your National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy may provide up to $30,000 to update your structure so it meets local flood-plain management regulations. To apply, you must first submit a signed Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Proof of Loss form to your insurance company.”

For a property owner to be considered for such a claim, his insurance company must obtain a contractor’s estimated for the proposed ICC-eligible measures to the home or business and copies of construction permits. The property owner has six years from the date of loss to complete the approved ICC measures.

“Structures that comply with flood-plain management regulations have an enhanced ability to withstand storms and floods. Mitigation measures eligible for ICC include elevation, relocation, demolition and flood proofing,” according to the release.

Another source of funding to rebuild or repair substantially damaged homes or businesses is the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A property owner who applied for an SBA home disaster loan or business physical disaster loan and whose application was approved, he may be eligible for additional money to pay for improvements that would protect his property against future damage. The additional money could be up to 20 percent of the amount of the approved loan.

As of Sunday, at least 80,700 survivors have contacted FEMA for assistance, and the number of approved individual assistance claims was at 28,912. The total assistance approved for individuals and families comes to just under $96 million.

Since the Jan. 23 deadline to register for FEMA assistance passed, at least $84.2 million in SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners have been approved and more than 5,700 National Flood Insurance Program claims have been submitted.

For more information, call the SBA at 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339. You may also go online to For more information on North Carolina’s recovery, visit and Follow FEMA on Twitter at @femaregion4 and North Carolina Emergency Management @NCEmergency.

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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