LOANS AVAILABLE: Businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters may qualify

Published 6:58 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency becomes a familiar household name in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence, Beaufort County residents may be less aware of a second agency providing relief assistance in the wake of the storm — the United States Small Business Administration.

Thus far, the SBA has approved $52,196,200 in loans in the state of North Carolina since Hurricane Florence, helping businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters start the process of recovery after the storm.

“These loans help people out,” SBA Public Affairs Specialist Yamil Rodriguez said. “This is one of the main programs offered to survivors so they can fix what they need.”


Specializing in disaster relief loans, the SBA offers three types of loans for those living in declared disaster areas:

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans to help repair or replace storm-damaged properties of businesses, private nonprofits, churches and charities.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for businesses and nonprofits that are unable to meet their financial obligations as a direct result of the storm, offering a safety net through the recovery period.
  • Home Disaster Loans are available for homeowners and renters who have suffered damages in the storm.

While registration with FEMA is encouraged for all businesses and nonprofits seeking an SBA loan, registration is a required step for homeowners and renters. Businesses and nonprofits, on the other hand can go directly to the SBA.

“Once you register with FEMA, you can come to us and we will find out if you are eligible for a loan,” Flores said. “If not, because you registered first with FEMA, we can send you back as a referral to see if they have other programs with which they can help that survivor.”

Businesses may qualify for up to $2 million in physical disaster and economic injury loans, and homeowners may qualify for up to $200,000 for repair or replacement of real estate. Homeowners and renters alike may qualify for up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.


One of the greatest benefits of an SBA loan is that the program’s low fixed-interest rates tend to be highly competitive compared to the traditional market.

“For North Carolina homeowners, the lowest interest rate is 2 percent, for businesses, the lowest rate is 3.675 and for private nonprofits, it’s 2.5 percent,” Flores said. “We take more into account the applicant’s ability to pay. We do look at the credit score, but that’s not the main reason for that person not to be approved.”


Beaufort county residents, business owners and nonprofit organizations can apply for loans in one of three ways.

  • Apply online at
  • In person at the Beaufort County Disaster Recovery Center, located in the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center at 231 E. Seventh St., Washington.
  • By phone at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-877-8339)

The deadline to apply for physical damage loans is Nov. 13. The deadline for economic injury loans is June 14, 2019. For more information, visit