Emergency Services: deadline for Florence aid looms, some resources underutilized

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A critical piece of federal recovery has gone largely underutilized in Beaufort County in the wake of Hurricane Florence, according to officials with Beaufort County Emergency Services. Area residents have less than two weeks to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration — the deadline is Nov. 13.

Of more than 2,000 applicants for recovery funds from FEMA, only 167 households have followed up with the SBA, according to numbers provided by Emergency Services. According to Emergency Management Specialist Lisa Williams, this is a problem, and one that could leave money on the table for those impacted by the storm.

While the SBA specializes in low-interest loans for individuals and businesses, applicants are under no obligation to take those loans, and applying is often the first step in qualifying for other kinds of financial aid. Even those who were initially denied by FEMA may be eligible for FEMA funding after applying with the SBA.

“If you’ve been denied by FEMA, you should appeal that process,” Williams said. “I can’t stress enough the urgency of it, because by Nov. 13, that is it.”


There could be any number of reasons a person chooses not to apply for an SBA loan at first glance. In some cases, the idea of taking out a loan is in itself a scary prospect, especially for a person who has lost their home and their livelihood. There may be concerns of being unable to pay back to loan, or that a person’s credit might hold them back from receiving a loan. Others still may find the process confusing and overwhelming.

Never the less, it is absolutely critical that anyone who registers with FEMA also apply with the SBA, even if they have no intention of taking out a loan. Not only does this create an opportunity to go back to FEMA for a second round, but it also creates opportunities for local assistance.

“Put simply, SBA’s application is the key that potentially unlocks many doors,” Williams said. “Without that process, those doors remain closed.”


While applying for federal assistance can be a cumbersome process, locally, a long-term recovery committee made up of nonprofits, churches and county government is working to fulfill the unmet needs of Beaufort County residents. A disaster relief hotline, staffed by the Virginia Baptist Disaster Response, remains up and operational at 252-495-6040, and is the place to call if you have any needs as a result of the storm.

The needs collected through this number are in turn given to the recovery committee, which matches the need with the organization that can help. Currently, the group has 176 requests for structural work on homes. Forty-seven are still waiting for work crews; 27 are waiting for cleanout and sanitization; and 24 households are either total losses or uninsured. Thirty-five households don’t have heating and air conditioning, and these numbers are just the households that have called in to the relief hotline.

While Williams says there are a lot of people ready and willing to do the work, financial contributions are still needed and are being managed by the Beaufort County United Way. To donate, visit www.unitedwaybc.net. A popup on the organization’s homepage has options to contribute, and 100 percent of funds will be invested locally.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency can be contacted through the following avenues:

The U.S Small Business Administration can be contacted in the following ways:

  • Visit www.DisasterLoan.sba.gov
  • Call 800-659-2955