SBA's Matthew loans not just for businesses

From the time Hurricane Matthew made landfall in October to the time the flood waters receded, more than 100,000 homes, businesses and government buildings in North Carolina sustained damage, according to

Nearly 50 percent of the counties in the state were named eligible for FEMA Public Assistance grants for permanent repair and replacement of disaster-damaged infrastructure resulting from Hurricane Matthew, according to a FEMA news release.

The clock is ticking on application deadlines for U.S. Small Business Administration loans that can help close the gap between insurance benefits and FEMA payouts for renters, homeowners, nonprofits and business owners.

SBA federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations.

“We’ve got a looming deadline of January 9, which is coming up very soon,” SBA Public Affairs Specialist Greg Dawson said. “The first thing anyone does if they’re impacted by the disaster is register with FEMA.”

Homeowners and renters who register with FEMA receive an SBA application in the mail.

“Typically, by the name of our organization, most folks see it and say, ‘Here’s that crazy government sending me something, I’m not a small business,’” Dawson said. “They toss it in File 13, a critical mistake. All federal assistance will cease if they don’t go through the process of completing that application.”

Everyone does not qualify for an SBA loan. Those who do not qualify are referred back to FEMA for FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance Program, which provides grant dollars. Individuals must go through the SBA application process to be considered for FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance Program grants.