Gov. Roy Cooper, on Friday, announced two federally-funded recovery programs for small business owners and workers for those affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The Governor’s Recovery Office and the North Carolina Department of Commerce (DOC) have awarded $7.5 million in funds, to be matched with private funds, to support small businesses still recovering from the storm that devastated the state with historic flooding last year.
The matching funds will come from private lenders in the form of loans available to small businesses in Matthew-affected areas, especially in Robeson, Cumberland, Edgecombe and Wayne counties where the flooding was worst.
In addition to the $7.5 million another $4.9 million will be used to keep workers who lost their jobs due to the storm employed doing storm cleanup and repair.
“Hurricane Matthew devastated families, small businesses and communities across half of our state,” Cooper said. “We’re working to help these communities recover by getting small businesses and workers back to work.”
The funding for both comes from federal programs awarded to DOC that were promised late last year and early this year.
The small business recovery program comes in the form of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds awarded to three non-profit, small business lenders.
The funds will be used to expand access to credit for small businesses in parts of the state hit by Matthew to help revitalize commercial activity in storm-affected communities.
The participating non-profit lenders are Carolina Small Business Development Fund, the North Carolina Community Development Initiative, and the Center for Community Self-Help, Cooper said.
Public dollars will be matched by the lending institutions or third-party funds to make at least $15 million in loans available to small businesses.
DOC will establish a web-based portal where small business owners in affected communities can get more information about how to apply for loans.
The $4.9 million in United States Department of Labor funds are the second installment in a federal workforce recovery grant awarded in November 2016, bringing the state total to $9.8 million.
The funds were used to create temporary jobs for North Carolinians who were thrown into unemployment – temporarily or permanently – because of Hurricane Matthew.
The temporary jobs have a two-fold purpose of boosting local recovery efforts in disaster areas and providing workers for storm clean up and repair and humanitarian assistance jobs in counties impacted by the disaster.
The additional funds will allow workers employed by the program to be able to continue to do those jobs during the recovery effort.
Counties with workers involved in the program include Wake, Johnston, Cumberland, Wayne, Greene, Lenoir, Craven, Jones, Pamlico, Carteret, Duplin, Onslow, Richmond, Scotland, Hoke, Robeson, Bladen, Gates, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Washington, Tyrrell, Dare, Hyde, Hertford, Bertie, Martin, Pitt, Beaufort, Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Halifax, Northampton, Chatham, Lee, Harnett, and Sampson counties.
“Through these efforts, 500 people hurt by Matthew are back at work and now small businesses have a new source of recovery funds,” DOC Deputy Secretary for Rural Economic Development and Workforce Solutions Napoleon Wallace said. “Our mission is to create and support jobs – and these additional funds will help us continue meeting that goal while providing much needed help for regions still working their way back to full recovery.”
Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damage to 50 North Carolina counties.
So far, more than$1.5 billion in state and federal relief funding has been allocated to the state.