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The federal Small Business Administration wants businesses and nonprofits that may be struggling because of lost income from Hurricane Florence to consider applying for low-interest loans even if they aren’t in a disaster-declared county.
The SBA can make “economic injury” loans to businesses and nonprofits in 18 counties that are contiguous to any of the 31 North Carolina counties declared disaster areas so far. Wake County was not in the disaster declaration, but because it’s contiguous to Johnston and Harnett counties, which are included, Wake businesses and nonprofits can apply.
Several other counties are under consideration for the disaster declaration.
SBA spokesman Corey D. Williams said Wednesday that, for example, a store that lost thousands of dollars in sales of team T-shirts and ball caps when the UNC-Central Florida game in Chapel Hill was canceled because of the storm — and is now having a hard time paying its bills — could apply for a loan of up to $25,000, collateral-free. Loans of up to $2 million are available with collateral. Rates are as low as 3.675 percent, fixed, payable over up to 30 years.
Several nonprofits had to cancel festivals and other fundraising events because of the storm, Williams said, and they too can apply for low-interest SBA loans. Those organizations can borrow up to $2 million at rates as low as 2.5 percent, also payable for up to 30 years.
Businesses and nonprofits that apply for the loans are not obligated to accept them, but Williams said that after disasters, it’s not uncommon for the operators of those entities to struggle for months before realizing they need help, and by then, it may be too late to bounce back.
According to the SBA, contiguous counties are Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Dare, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Stanly, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington.
The deadline for applying for SBA economic injury loans for Florence victims is June 14, 2019. Applications are available through the SBA website.
As of Wednesday, Williams said, the SBA had made more than $3 million in economic injury loans in North Carolina since Hurricane Florence, which hit the state Sept. 14.