Disaster relief funds available for Northeast Florida counties following Ian’s aftermath, destruction

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Federal resources have become available for counties in Northeast Florida following Hurricane Ian’s aftermath.

Putnam County is one of the four counties the Small Business Administration (SBA) added to the disaster declaration.

The reason SBA is stepping in to help is because of damage sustained to homes and businesses due to of Ian. For example, a 50-foot tree uprooted and landed on top of a chicken coop in the yard of a home off San Mateo Road.

Cole Wiesner, his wife and two small kids have had the coop for about three years.

“I heard it crashing on the metal out there. I heard that and kind of panicked. So, I shot outside, and I heard the thump of it hitting the ground as well,” Wiesner said.

Wiesner said he’s made a few dollars off the eggs by selling them to people in the community.

Sharon Gadbois, a public affairs specialist for SBA, said if this was Wiesner’s official licensed business, he could’ve gotten relief assistance for it now that disaster funds are available.

SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations.

Through SBA disaster loans, up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair and replace real estate damaged or destroyed. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair and replace property.

If applicants don’t qualify for a SBA loan, the agency will refer them back to FEMA for additional grant considerations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also extended its assistance to Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties Saturday.

FEMA assistance includes basic home repairs, temporary housing and other uninsured disaster-related issues.

Wiesner’s wife said she’s thankful the tree didn’t fall in the other direction.

“Thank goodness it didn’t fall on the house,” Megan Wiesner said. “Thank goodness we were all okay.”

The deadline to apply for an SBA loan is Nov. 28.

For more information on the SBA disaster loan, visit sba.gov.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad