Residents of the Buchanan County community of Hurley whose homes were damaged or destroyed by an August flood have until early April to apply for low-interest disaster relief loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate and up to $40,000 for personal property, according to a news release issued Monday by U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, and U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.
How to apply
Representatives from the Small Business Administration will be at the red gym in Hurley starting Feb. 15 to help residents with the loan application process.
Feb. 15: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Feb. 16-18: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Feb. 19: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Feb. 20: Closed
Feb. 21: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.*
Feb. 22-23, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Feb. 24: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.*
* If operations are closed Feb. 21 in observance of Presidents Day, SBA will remain open until 6 p.m. Feb. 24 and add Feb. 25 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.).
Residents can also apply online under SBA declaration #17332. Completed applications can also be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
More information is available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Economic injury disaster loans also are available to businesses and nonprofits whose operations were affected by the flooding and mudslides. More information is available on the SBA’s website.
The deadline to apply for physical property damage is April 4 and the deadline for economic injury applications is Nov. 2.
SBA officials will be in Hurley later this month to help residents navigate the application process, according to United Way of Southwest Virginia, which has led local fundraising and recovery efforts.
“We were pleased to learn the Small Business Administration will be sending representatives to Buchanan County to work directly with the citizens of Hurley. We have been working to provide aid and assistance to homeowners there since September, and are glad the SBA has joined in this continuing effort,” United Way president and CEO Travis Staton said in a statement Monday.
A late August rainstorm unleashed flash flooding and mudslides across Hurley. One person died, and dozens of families were displaced when their homes were inundated with water or crushed by slides.
While the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved emergency aid to help Buchanan County rebuild infrastructure, it denied the state’s request for funding for individual homeowners. Although the state appealed the denial, and Kaine, Warner and Griffith wrote to President Joe Biden in support of the appeal, FEMA last month rejected the appeal.
In the absence of federal money, local donors have stepped in to help. A group led by United Way has raised more than $500,000 to help with rebuilding, and scores of volunteer construction crews have converged on Hurley in the months since the storm. But Staton estimated last month that they would need at least $3.5 million to rebuild the homes and private bridges that were damaged, even using all volunteer labor.
Local officials also have asked to tap the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund, a public-private pool of money overseen by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. But because the fund is a resource of last resort that can be used only after all other state, federal and private aid has been exhausted, the Hurley recovery effort would be eligible for money from the fund only if there are still unmet needs after SBA loans are made available, according to VDEM.
Also at the state level, a bill from Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell County, would create a state flood relief fund using money that Virginia has received through its participation in a regional cap-and-trade initiative. That bill awaits action in a House committee in Richmond.