FEMA, SBA offering Hurricane Ian relief programs in the Lowcountry

FEMA and SBA are setting up disaster relief centers to answer questions and help people apply for Hurricane Ian relief in the Lowcounty.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 3:29 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2022 at 6:27 AM EST
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are setting up disaster relief centers to answer questions and help people apply for Hurricane Ian relief in the Lowcountry.

With FEMA, you can apply for grant money for repairs to your primary residence. FEMA representative Nikki Campbell says you should first find out what your insurance covers. If you need more help, then you can apply for a FEMA grant.

“By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance benefits. So that’s the most important thing we want you to know. But if you didn’t receive enough money that you were hoping for, you can apply with us,” Campbell says.

If you don’t have insurance, you can still apply for a FEMA grant and share that information in your application.

FEMA has set up Disaster Relief Centers in Georgetown County at the Waccamaw Regional Rec Center in Georgetown County and the North Charleston Public Works Building in Charleston County.

  • Georgetown County: Waccamaw Regional Rec Center at 83 Duncan Avenue
  • Charleston County: North Charleston Public Works Building at 5800 Casper Padgett Way

“We offer them as an option because a lot of times people like to meet with someone face to face versus online or by the phone. I don’t blame them. I’m the same way. So, people have an opportunity to come here and meet with a FEMA representative face to face,” Campbell says.

The deadline to apply for FEMA grant assistance is January 23, 2023. You can visit a center to get started on your application or apply online here.

“FEMA is a piece of the puzzle. We are certainly not the entire piece. It truly takes FEMA. It takes the local communities. It takes the nonprofits. It also takes other agencies like the small business and ministration we work very closely with them to help survivors on their road to recovery,” Campbell says.

The SBA also has a disaster relief center set up at 14361 Ocean Hwy in Georgetown County. It is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Residents, businesses and non-profits can apply for low-interest disaster loans. Liliana Tschanett, and SBA Public Affairs Specialist and representative says many people and organizations are eligible for the loans and you can come in with questions.

“Our main goal is to help the backbone of our economy - small businesses, businesses, midsize and all sizes in a disaster area. And just offer them a disaster loan so they could survive this. And it’s been proven that more than 40% of businesses-- they disappear after a disaster in the next six months,” Tschanett says.

Homeowners can get up to $200,000 in loans for property damage and renters can get up to $40,000 in loans for personal property damage.

Businesses and non-profits can get up to $2 million in loans for property damage, equipment damage, inventory and assets. These loans can often have up to 30-year payment plans.

“When people hear the word loan, they’re kind of deterred and they’re thinking, ‘Well, I don’t need another loan.’ And I hope that you take this as information and you just think about it, because the loans are not commercial loans. They are disaster loans,” Tschanett says.

The deadline to apply for SBA loans is January 21, 2023. You can visit the center to get started on an application, call 1-800-659-2955, or apply online here.