Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for owners of homes and small businesses damaged in a 5.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Sparta was approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration on Friday.


The declaration authorizes low-interest disaster loans to owners of homes and businesses in Alleghany County and the adjoining counties of Ashe, Surry and Wilkes, as well as Grayson County, Va., damaged in the Aug. 9 earthquake.


SBA disaster loans provide up to $200,000 apiece to homeowners and up to $2 million apiece to business owners for repairing and/or replacing damaged property. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property.


“This SBA approval will provide much-needed help to our homeowners and small businesses who are coping with structural damage from this strong quake,” said Cooper. “Additionally, I have signed a state disaster declaration to provide state-funded assistance for those who don’t qualify for SBA aid.”


About 500 structures in Alleghany County were listed as damaged in the initial assessment. An SBA damage assessment survey found that 43 buildings suffered damage equal to more than 40% of each building’s value. This included 38 homes and five businesses.


Individual state assistance grants are available for those who don’t qualify for an SBA low-interest disaster loan,


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for working capital needs related to the earthquake are available to small businesses, regardless of whether physical property damage occurred.


A disaster recovery center will open Monday afternoon in Sparta to receive applications for assistance. Call 336-372-2999 to make an appointment.


Applications can also be submitted online at Information and loan applications are also available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing

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