North Carolina households and business owners have received more than $178 million in low-interest loans and federal relief grants since Hurricane Matthew struck the state in October, according to state and federal officials.
Of that, more than $200,000 in assistance was for those in Onslow County.
Within 12 hours after then-Gov. Pat McCrory declared 45 counties disaster areas, FEMA had personnel assessing damage and sitting up disaster recovery sites. The last three sites, in Edgecombe, Cumberland and Robeson counties, shut down Thursday.
Mike Wade, FEMA spokesperson, said the agency assisted 81,223 households statewide with $91,167,996 in grants.
“The majority of damage we were seeing was from storm flooding,” Wade said. “A lot of people during this event did not have flood insurance. They were told they didn’t need it because they were not in a flood zone.”
Homeowners do not have to live in a flood zone to purchase flood insurance, Wade said.
“A lot of the claims paid out by the National Insurance Flood Program are from people who do not live in a flood zone,” he said. “Most home policies do not cover flooding. I would say 99 percent do not cover it. I would suggest people strongly consider purchasing flood coverage.”
FEMA has two funding programs available during disaster declarations: housing and repair assistance and also other needs, such as for vehicles, funeral expenses and medical equipment, Wade said.
Onslow County had 439 households register for assistance and FEMA has provided $201,671 in assistance for individuals and houses.
Jones County had 225 applicants who received a total of $378,259.
Statewide, 81,223 households registered for assistance and received a total of $91,167,996, he said.
Four of the 45 counties declared a disaster received the majority of FEMA relief funds: Robeson, $23,910,982; Cumberland, $15,023,476; Wayne, $9,243,541; and Edgecombe, $8,843,691.
“We’ve improved a lot of things we’ve done over the years,” Wade said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting people on the ground. We transfer the money to their bank and that helps them get back on their feet a lot quicker. It really takes everybody coming together — state, local and FEMA — to make the declarations and set up the disaster sites so everything works well.”
The Small Business Association, or SBA, received a total of 7,306 applications from households and businesses in North Carolina for low-interest loans and 2,372 were approved for a total of $87,508,500.
Michael Lampton, SBA public affairs manager, said 6,223 of those requests were for home loans and 2,025 were approved with the agency paying out $64,125,400. The SBA received 987 business loan applications and approved 320 for a total of $22,412,500, he said.
The SBA also received 96 applications statewide from business owners saying they had suffered an economic injury because of the hurricane. Only 27 of those applications were approved for a total of $970,600, Lampton said.
Business owners have until July 10 to meet the deadline for any economic injury they suffered that does not include physical damage to the business, Lampton said.
In Onslow County, Wade said three projects were projected for public assistance, but FEMA hasn’t obligated any money for the projects at this time.
“What they do is meet with the officials and come up with a projected list of projects,” he said, explaining that until they get the documents together to find out what category those projects fall in, FEMA can’t know what the projects are.
Daily News reporter Michaela Sumner contributed to this report.