COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tuesday, Nov. 1) – With so much attention given to businesses and homeowners, survivors who are renters may think they are not eligible for disaster assistance even though they suffered losses from the storms and floods spawned by Hurricane Matthew. But they are.

Like homeowners, renters must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Go online to
  • Call toll-free 800-621-3362 (711, voice or video relay services) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. until further notice.
  • Visit one of the nine Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) operating in Beaufort, Dorchester, Florence, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg and Williamsburg counties. Find the DRC closest to you at "Quick Links" on Representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and various state agencies are on hand to answer questions.

Registering with FEMA is the first step toward qualifying for disaster assistance, which may include grants to help renters and homeowners pay for temporary housing, personal property replacements and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

After registering with FEMA, renters may also be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA offers such loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, and homeowners as well as renters. SBA loans to renters may cover the cost of repairing or replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

For more information on SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800 659-2955 or 800 877-8339 for TTY; email or visit Applicants may also apply online at for the Electronic Loan Application on SBA’s secure website.