Hurricane Matthew news briefs for November 10th-16th

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Photo above: As Gov. Nikki Haley stopped by the Jasper County Farmers Market for hurricane relief efforts, members of the Salvation Army of the Lowcountry were busy educating residents in need on the services they can provide. Shown here are the Salvation Army of the Lowcountry’s Major Marie Tatterson, Haley and Salvation Army of the Lowcountry social worker Amber Hewitt.

Mold, debris removal help is being offered

Rep. Mark Sanford is offering help to residents who need assistance in getting yard debris removed or help with mold cleanup from Hurricane Matthew. Call 1-800-451-1954.

To speak to Sanford’s team in person, visit the St. Helena Branch Library from 1-2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

Free legal assistance available to victims

A toll-free legal aid hotline is available to South Carolina victims of storm-related damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer to aid in flood-related matters, is a partnership between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the South Carolina Bar, the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division and South Carolina Legal Services.

Hurricane victims facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer can call 1-877-797-2227, ext. 120, or 803-576-3815 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, to request assistance.

The type of legal assistance available includes:

• Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;
• Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
• Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
• Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster;
• Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
• Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
• Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

When connected to the hotline, callers should say that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance, provide brief details of the assistance needed and in which disaster-declared county they are located. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with South Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance.

Hurricane victims may also request assistance online by visiting www.scdisasterreliefresources.com, emailing admin@scdisasterrelief.com, or contacting South Carolina Legal Services at 1-888-346-5592.

County launches new disaster recovery website

Beaufort County has launched a new disaster recovery website that will serve as a one-stop portal for residents, businesses and municipalities to gain information about services available to them in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

“After any natural disaster, a community’s residents instantly seek out information and are at risk of receiving misinformation,” said Josh Riley, web design and content manager. “Having a one-stop shop for all of our disaster recovery needs will help Beaufort County to prevent this from happening. We want our residents to have quality information and resources at their fingertips.”

The website features information on shelter and food resources, debris removal guidelines, Federal Emergency Management Assistance updates, information on utilities and other hurricane-related information for Beaufort County residents.

“The website is updated daily, which allows everyone the opportunity to see realtime snapshots of our activities,” said Gary Kubic, Beaufort County administrator. “It’s an innovative and informative portal of information that sparks collaboration between our county leaders and residents.”

Visit beaufortcountydisasterrecovery.net.

South State offering recovery loans

South State Bank will provide assistance to individuals affected by Hurricane Matthew by introducing new disaster recovery programs for customers.

The Disaster Relief Personal Loan and Catastrophe Savings Account are designed to assist customers with recovery efforts following the recent hurricane and subsequent flooding.

“Hurricane Matthew had a significant impact on many of the communities we serve,” said John F. Windley, president and CEO of South State Bank. “We have developed programs and services to assist our customers in the affected areas. We are committed to providing assistance to help people through the recovery effort.”

The Disaster Relief Personal Loan includes low rates and special terms to help individuals get the funds they need to recover more quickly. The features of this loan include flexible terms, which will allow individuals to borrow up to $50,000 to help with needs incurred as a result of the recent hurricane. This loan is unsecured, meaning it will not leverage a customer’s home or other assets.

Additionally, the Catastrophe Savings Account (CSA) is designed for South Carolina residents to save money to help alleviate the financial burden of a future disaster.

A CSA can help customers pay for qualified catastrophic expenses that result from a hurricane, flood or other catastrophic event declared an emergency by FEMA.

In South Carolina, the money placed in a CSA and the annual interest on that money are not subject to state income taxes if left in the account or used for qualified catastrophe expenses. Qualified expenses include insurance deductibles, out-of-pocket costs resulting from the catastrophe and uninsured loss resulting from the catastrophe. This account is limited to South Carolina residents.

Visit SouthStateBank.com or a local South State branch, or call 1-800-277-2175.

Realtors chip in to help victims

The Beaufort County Association of Realtors, the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors and the South Carolina Realtors have partnered with the Realtor Relief Foundation and the state associations in Georgia and North Carolina to enter into a joint cooperative that will provide relief to victims of Hurricane Matthew.

The foundation is providing mortgage or rent relief up to $1,000 to those who qualify. The relief is available to South Carolina residents who have suffered property damage to their primary residence as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Assistance is available to qualified applicants for one of the following options: monthly mortgage expense for the primary residence that was damaged by Hurricane Matthew, or rental cost of temporary shelter due to displacement from the primary residence resulting from the storm.

Relief assistance is limited to $1,000 per applicant and one grant per residence.

Go to www.beaufortscreatlors.com, www.hhrealtors.com or screaltors.org/realtorrelief for the application, and review and submit with required documents.

Recipients must be full-time residents and a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for residence.

For more information, visit www.beaufortscrealtors.com, www.hhrealtors.com or call 843- 525-6435 or 843-842-2421.

Some Hilton Head parks beaches have reopened

A team from the SC Emergency Management Division, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was onsite recently to evaluate and tour the beaches on Hilton Head Island.

They met with staff to provide guidance on plans for repairing the damaged beaches.

Meanwhile, the following parks and beaches on Hilton Head Island have reopened after cleanup caused by Hurricane Matthew: Coligny Beach Park, Alder Lane, Shelter Cove Community Park, Compass Rose Park, Barker Field Expansion, Mitchelville Beach Park, Veteran’s Memorial at Shelter Cove Community Park, Folly Field Beach Park, Cordillo Tennis Courts, Burke’s Beach Access, Fish Haul Creek Park and the Rowing & Sailing Center at Squire Pope Community Park (dock is closed for repairs)

Parks will continue to be opened as repairs are completed and it is safe to do so.