Buncombe tenants, landlords can always get help

ASHEVILLE – Tenants, landlords, businesses, nonprofits and others who suffered damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred this summer can still seek help, officials said.

Help can come in the form of grants or low-interest federal loans, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Small Business Association told the Buncombe County Council of Commissioners on October 5.

“To date, we have approved $ 2.3 million for 431 households. It’s in the three county area – Buncombe Haywood, Transylvania, ”said John Boyle, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator at FEMA.

This amount is intended for grants in the category of individual aid. In Buncombe alone, 704 people have requested one-on-one help and 132 have been approved so far for $ 371,000, Boyle said.

All three counties and other parts of western North Carolina have been declared eligible by President Joe Biden for several types of disaster assistance.

The September 8 statement came after Fred’s remains dumped massive amounts of rain on WNC, resulting in flooding August 16-18 and six deaths, all in Haywood County.

Different aid deadlines are approaching with the first on October 7 for the category of public aid. Governments and non-profit organizations can request assistance with the removal of debris, structures or roads and other types of infrastructure.

Boyle said he was working to extend the deadline, but urged nonprofits and other entities, such as community centers, to reach out.

Those seeking help should first report the damage to their insurance company, if they are insured, and then contact government disaster relief officials.

“We definitely see insurance as an important part of the toolbox that a landlord or tenant needs to protect themselves,” Boyle said. “So we can provide a little help, but we’re not going to make them complete.”

Along with or in place of grants, tenants, landlords and others can qualify for loans at interest rates as low as 1.563%, said Terrell Perry, SBA public affairs specialist.

Perry said that many mistakenly assume that because they are not a business they do not qualify for an SBA loan.

“When it comes to disasters, the majority of our loans go to homeowners and tenants.”

Asked by deputy commissioners Al Whitesides whether loans are ever canceled, Perry said this sometimes happens “on a case-by-case basis.”

Responding to a question from District 3 Commissioner Terri Wells of Sandy Mush about helping farmers, Perry and Boyle said the US Department of Agriculture would help them with things like crop losses, but the FEMA and the SBA could help with bridges, roads, fences, debris removal, and ancillary businesses, such as stores that sell produce.

Workers at Tierra Fertil Co-op remove crops damaged as a result of Tropical Depression Fred in August.

Individual help

Tenants and landlords can then register with FEMA in several ways:

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Call 800-621-3362. The lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
  • At your doorstep: FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams go door-to-door in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties. DSA teams wear FEMA clothing and have federal photo ID badges. FEMA staff never ask for money.

The registration deadline is November 8.

Other types of aid

Other tenant needs

Tenants may also be eligible for a grant under FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program for uninsured essential personal property losses and other disaster-related expenses. These may include the replacement or repair of necessary personal property, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, textbooks or school supplies; the replacement or repair of tools and other work-related equipment required by self-employed workers; primary vehicles; uninsured or reimbursable medical, dental, child care, moving and storage expenses.

Unemployment assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties. Individuals have until October 10 to file a request on des.nc.gov. DUA is available for weeks of unemployment starting August 22 and can last up to 29 weeks. DUA eligibility is determined weekly.

Non-profit organizations, churches

Places of worship and other nonprofits may be eligible for FEMA assistance to help pay for emergency protection measures, debris removal, and facility restoration. Contact NC Emergency Management by emailing [email protected] or at the website https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/emergency-management/disaster-recovery/public-assistance.

Loans for companies, associations, individuals

The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers long-term, low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, tenants, businesses, and nonprofits to cover losses not fully compensated. through insurance and other sources.

Requests can be made online at désastreloanassistance.sba.gov / ela / s /. Paper inquiries can be requested by calling 800-659-2955 or sending an email to dé[email protected]

Legal assistance

Free legal assistance is available to those suffering damage in the three counties who cannot afford a lawyer through the North Carolina nonprofit legal aid. Staff can help clarify home ownership, help with inquiries and appeals, and support victims of fraud and other matters.

To request free assistance, residents can call 866-219-5262 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Extended hours on Mondays and Thursdays are 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm Applications can also be submitted online at legalaidnc.org/get-help/self-help-library/disaster-relief.

Joel Burgess has lived at WNC for over 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He has written award-winning stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to police use of force. Help us support this type of journalism by subscribing to the Citizen Times.


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