Residents still rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew may still receive federal funds

FEMA deadline extended, SBA loans still possible

ANASTASIA ISLAND, Fla. – Families in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods are still trying to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew. This week, the Federal Emergency Management  Agency extended the deadline for an additional 180 days for National Flood Insurance Program policyholders affected by the storm.

One of the hardest hit communities was Davis Shores on Anastasia Island, where dumpsters filled with wood and broken down cardboard boxes are signs of progress, but it's progress that has been stalled.

Some houses had to be rebuilt from the inside out.

“This is interior wall framing that they ripped out,” said Chad Schwaninger, a local contractor. "They had to gut the house, gut all the dry wall, redo all the new floors and everything. ‘Why?’ ‘It was flooded for about 3 foot.’”

Cynthia McAuliffe, has lived in Davis Shores for 14 years. She told News4Jax that the neighborhood instantly changed when Matthew brought flood waters in.

“We still have a few people living in trailers outside of their houses," McAuliffe said. "The neighbor on the corner of Menendez. He hopes to be back in March.”

Months after the water receded, it’s as if cleaning is really just beginning. With so many residents needing to repair homes, supplies have been in short supply. 

"Home Depot was sold out. For weeks, you couldn’t by dry wall. You couldn’t buy studs. You couldn’t buy any materials,"  Schwaninger said. "You had to get in there at like 6 o’clock in the morning just to try to find materials to buy to go to work.”

But, residents can’t get anything done without money and many in Davis Shores are waiting for money from FEMA.

“They’ve got the electricians lined up. And the plumbers lined up. "They’re just waiting for the money. So they can get going," McAuliffe said. "You know, I think we should have a celebration when everybody’s back in the neighborhood because this was amazing!”

Once the money comes, residents hope St. Augustine can get back to normal.

For residents who do not have flood insurance, there is another option.

The Small Business Administration told New4Jax:

The deadline in Florida to apply for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration for physical damages due to Hurricane Matthew was December 16, 2016.

If a business, private nonprofit organization, homeowner or renter has not filed an application for physical losses, but still needs a disaster loan, we will consider a late filing on a case-by-case basis.  The applicant must provide a written explanation for the late filing. The request may be accepted only if we determine the late filing resulted from substantial causes essentially beyond the applicant's control.  Applicants must mail their request to:

U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155

The SBA reserves the right to not accept an application submitted after the deadline.

Small businesses and nonprofits can still apply for working capital loans, known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage.  The deadline to apply for an EIDL is July 17, 2017.

As of the close of business, February 8, 2017, the SBA has approved 2,180 loans totaling $74,686,300 to assist Floridians with their recovery from Hurricane Matthew.  Of these loans, St. Johns County had 541 loans for $31,143,600, Duval County had 206 loans for $5,576,200, and Flagler County had 301 loans for $8,975,200.

For more information, survivors can call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.