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October 31 Deadlines Nearing For Businesses, Homeowners Affected by Floyd

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WILSON — Business owners who were pushed out by Hurricane Floyd do not have much time to get financial help from the state. The deadline for small business loans is October 31.

More than $35 million was made available for small businesses, but so far, only about half of it has been used. Most of the loans have an interest rate of just 3.9 percent.

The same deadline applies to homeowners who need help paying for SBA loans.

Only half the money has been used for a state program that could provide thousands of dollars to each home.

"That grant is designed to help with the debt burden that they have incurred since the storm, help them pay down that SBA loan," says Vera Burton, a Wilson housing counselor.

Housing counselors have tried to tell everyone who qualifies, but so far, the response has been low.

It seems there is a lot of confusion about whether the state grant just adds to a homeowner's debt.

"The grants don't have to be paid back," says Burton. "They range from $2,500 up to $10,000 depending on circumstances, and it is money that's already available. The General Assembly set the money aside specifically for this purpose last year."

The deadline has been extended twice. Recovery workers say this is probably the last chance to take advantage of the grants.

Flood victims need to get in touch with their local housing counselor. For more information, call the state hotline at1-877-877-1766.