Help offered to cover losses from flooding

Homeowners, renters and business owners can apply for low-interest federal loans to help cover losses from Tropical Storm Fay, which caused flooding across the region last week, officials announced Friday.

Starting today, the Small Business Administration, which runs the loan program, will open centers at the Hal Marshall Services Center Annex in uptown Charlotte and the Old Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office in Concord.

The loans follow a request from Gov. Mike Easley for the SBA to declare the state a natural disaster area. The declaration was approved Thursday.

Loans are available for up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged homes, and up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings. Renters are eligible for loans to cover personal property losses, including automobiles.

Businesses and nonprofits can apply for loans of up to $2million to repair or replace damage to real estate, machinery and equipment.

Interest rates start at 2.875percent for homeowners and renters, and 4percent for businesses.

Relief is available in the following counties: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster (S.C.) Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union and York (S.C.).

There are three ways to get more information or an application:

In person
at the Hal Marshall Center Annex, 618 N. College St. in Charlotte; or the Old Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office, 25 Corban Ave. in Concord. Open today and weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The SBA has not yet said when the offices will close.

On the Web
at www. sba.gov/services/disasteras sistance, or send an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@ sba.gov.

By phone
by calling 704-432-1898 or 800-659-2955 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.

Physical damage claims must be filed by Nov. 3.

Economic injury applications are due by June 4, 2009.