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An Important Update on Our Recoupment Process

Over the past year, as directed by law, FEMA has re-initiated an improved process for identifying cases of improper payments made to individuals after disasters and to take steps to recover those funds. As we have explained before on this blog, several laws require FEMA and other federal agencies to conduct this process, known as “recoupment.” At the direction of our current leadership, we have worked within the legal constraints of these laws to make the process more fair and understandable for both disaster survivors and taxpayers. However, under these existing laws, FEMA was unable to waive debts.

Last week, Congress passed a law providing FEMA discretion to waive certain debts from disasters declared between August 2005 and the end of 2010 if the debt arose from an improper individual assistance payment made as a result of FEMA’s error, there was no fault on the part of the survivor, and the survivor currently has an income of $90,000 or less. The law does not apply to recoupment efforts for disasters declared after Jan. 1, 2011.

FEMA is committed to implementing the law to the fullest extent possible so that it meets its intended purpose: to offer a fair resolution to those survivors who received improper payments through no fault of their own and who may be unable to repay their debt due to their financial circumstances.

So now that the law has been passed, what next?

FEMA is currently reviewing the law and developing a plan to implement it. This includes examining the reasons for recoupment and the potential population of survivors who might be eligible to have their debts waived. We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and all interested stakeholders during this effort.

As we begin work on this implementation plan, FEMA is not scheduled to send any new debts to Treasury for collection before Jan. 13, 2012. We know that there are many survivors and other stakeholders who will have questions about the effects of this new law. While we are just beginning to determine how to implement this brand new law, the legislation does make clear that a recoupment case must meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for full forgiveness:

  • The improper payment was received from disasters declared between Aug. 28, 2005 (Hurricane Katrina) and Dec. 30, 2010;
  • The improper payment was a result of an error solely on FEMA’s part – not on the part of a survivor;
  • The improper payment cannot have involved fraud, false claim or misrepresentation by the survivor;
  • The survivor’s adjusted gross income for the last taxable year was less than $90,000 (a survivor with an income of greater than $90,000 whose case meets the other qualifying criteria could be eligible for a partial waiver) ; and
  • The collection of the debt would be against “good conscience and equity.”

Our priority is to ensure that all survivors have clear and complete information about these changes once we have an implementation plan to share, and we are working to make that happen as quickly as possible.

It is important to note that Congress wrote this law to apply only to recoupment efforts for older disasters. As we have also explained before, in recent years we have taken significant steps to put strong protections in place to cut down on the percentage of improper payments disbursed after disasters – and it is now less than one percent, on average. We will continue to do everything we can to reduce the need for any potential recoupments for current and future disasters.

We want to move expeditiously on this implementation effort, but we also want to get it right. We thank all of our stakeholders – especially survivors – for their patience as we move into the next phase or this effort and look forward to working together to make these important changes a reality.

National Disaster Recovery Framework Stakeholder Forum in New Orleans

Today we are holding the first stakeholder forum for the National Disaster Recovery Framework in New Orleans, and additional stakeholder forums are being organized for other cities in the coming months. The purpose of this forums is to continue the development, collaboration and implementation of the key concepts of the Recovery Framework and discuss how they can be used to drive recovery efforts in a community after a disaster or through pre-disaster recovery planning.

As we blogged about this in September, the release of the Recovery Framework is the culmination of a collaborative process and extensive outreach efforts that brought together recovery partners and stakeholders from across the nation. The framework was developed through numerous meetings and briefings, online engagements, and a series of video teleconferences and stakeholder forums across the country, building upon existing programs, authorities and best practices.

The Recovery Framework outlines how disaster recovery is supported and organized across the nation, and builds on scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating structures to align key roles and responsibilities, linking state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the federal government, private sector, individuals, and voluntary, faith-based, disability and community organizations – all who play vital roles in community-based recovery.

On March 30, 2011, the President issued Presidential Policy Directive-8 (PPD-8) directing the delivery of “a series of integrated national planning frameworks, covering prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.” Consistent with the vision set forth in PPD-8, the Recovery Framework summarizes the way ahead for disaster recovery and is the first framework published under PPD-8.

Visit our Recovery Framework page for the full Framework document and future stakeholder forums.

North Dakota Partnerships Pave the Way for Recovery, Safer Future

Posted by: Public Affairs

Officials look over a map of Minot, North Dakota.
Minot, ND, October 20, 2011 -- David Miller (right), Associate Administrator of the FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (second from right), FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Deanne Criswell (center), FEMA Associate Administrator of Response and Recovery William Carwile (left), and FEMA Region VIII Flood Insurance and Mitigation Division Director Jeanine Petterson discuss flood recovery concerns with engineers and other state and local officials at Minot's City Hall.

Recently, David Miller, Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration, and Bill Carwile, Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, visited North Dakota. During their visit, they met with top state and local officials, toured flood damaged areas from the air and the ground, and saw first-hand the impacts of flooding along the Souris and Missouri Rivers and in the Devils Lake Basin, including the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe. They came to look, listen and learn about the challenges and the hopes of area leadership.

Their goal was to look for ways to improve the local, state, tribal, private sector and federal partnerships needed for ongoing recovery and future mitigation.

David Miller shared his thoughts on the trip:



Bill and I toured areas of Bismarck and Mandan, Minot/Ward County and Devils Lake. We visited with FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff and met with state and local leaders, including Governor Dalrymple, Adjutant General Sprynczynatyk, State Flood Recovery Coordinator Major General Sagsveen, and representatives from the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services. On Friday morning, I also met with Senators Conrad and Hoeven and Representative Berg, and locals leaders representing the Souris River Basin, including Mayors Curt Zimbelman and Jerome Gruenberg.

Throughout our visit we engaged in a discussion of the recovery efforts for each of the affected areas. I listened to the passionate and well articulated concerns of state and local leaders and heard about their commitment to the future. It is apparent that while each area has unique challenges, the foundation for a safer future rest with building a sustainable, well-coordinated and comprehensive approach to their ongoing flooding risks.

Strategic Long Term Recovery
I returned from the visit to the Souris River Basin impressed that state and local officials are taking the lead to develop a strategy and program for recovery that will include floodplain management, control projects, and acquisitions along with plans for the environment, historical considerations and future development. These plans may include both structural and non-structural solutions. While flood protection needs to be driven at the state and local level, I see an opportunity for federal support and participation as their concepts are flushed out, goals further defined and specific projects indentified.

It was extremely valuable for me to visit the Devils Lake Basin, especially from the air – for which I thank the North Dakota National Guard. This is an area I have long heard about but this was my first visit. I want to thank the local leaders who took the time to brief me on the situation, and for their straightforward and clear summary of how this flood event (that began in 1993) has impacted their infrastructure, their communities and most importantly their citizens. I know we will have continued involvement as part of the state and Army Corps of Engineers-led efforts and I am committed to exploring ways our programs, can be used to support the Corps’ recovery and mitigation strategies.

David Miller, Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration and William Carwile, Associate Administrator, FEMA Response and Recovery survey ongoing recovery efforts in Minot.
Minot, ND, October 20, 2011 -- David Miller, Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration and William Carwile, Associate Administrator, FEMA Response and Recovery survey ongoing recovery efforts in Minot following historic flooding from the Souris River this Spring. FEMA is working with state and local partners to provide assistance to those who were affected by the flooding.

Bill Carwile emphasized the importance of seeing a disaster first-hand, and the importance of partnerships:



Let me add that I too benefited from seeing first-hand the complexities surrounding long-term recovery challenges in North Dakota. Seeing a disaster from the ground is always beneficial, but this trip proved especially valuable thanks to the time we were able to spend with the governor, state officials, and community leaders. I focused my time in the Souris River Basin and the surrounding areas.

Like David, I found both the aerial perspective and the ground tours extremely valuable. But nothing impacted me more than driving through flood damaged neighborhoods and then walking through a home that was destroyed. While state and local leaders, with supplemental support from FEMA, the private sector, other federal agencies, and the volunteer organizations have made progress, good progress, it is clear that there is still a long way to go. And while the challenges are great, so are the opportunities. One of my specific recommendations is that we coordinate with the State to evaluate the need to exercise components for the National Disaster Recovery Framework to help support the ongoing recovery efforts.

My message to the local community is to continue to build your local, state, federal and private sector team. As I told FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate when I returned from North Dakota, we need to do all we can within FEMA to support the state, flood-impacted communities, and individuals as they continue the efforts to rebuild, and define projects and strategies for future flood protection.

Vermont: The Cows & Coffee Cups Are On Message

Posted by: James N. Russo, Federal Coordinating Officer, Vermont Tropical Storm Irene



A mobile hay wagon displays FEMA's disaster assistance information on Route 7 in Charlotte, Vermont.
Charlotte, VT, October 16, 2011 -- A mobile hay wagon displays FEMA's disaster assistance information on Route 7 in Charlotte, Vermont. The Vermont Farm Bureau and FEMA are working together to encourage those affected by Tropical Storm Irene to register by the October 31 deadline.

In a state where billboards are banned, FEMA has had to get a little more creative about getting our message to the public.

Much of Vermont was flooded by Tropical Storm Irene in late August and our private sector liaisons and state counterparts have been busy coming up with new and unique ways to let those affected know where they can turn for federal assistance. Normally, we coordinate with the state to display disaster assistance information on digital billboards where it will be seen by as many motorists as possible.

But many Vermonters feel very strongly about keeping the views of their scenic mountains and valleys unobstructed. In 1958, the state was the first to ban billboards, followed by Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. However, the folks here have learned to blend their message into the natural landscape in enterprising and cost-effective ways. When we asked our state counterparts the best way to post a banner with disaster assistance information, they suggested we do the same thing that local farmers do to promote their produce stands: place it on a hay wagon. With the help of the Vermont Farm Bureau, the wagon has already made a stop at a tractor parade and will continue en route throughout the state to be strategically placed at highly-trafficked farm fields.

Another example of how we work with the private sector: Partnering with local coffee shops in each of the 12 federally-declared Vermont counties, each of whom agreed to use recycled cup sleeves with FEMA’s www.disasterassistance.gov web address and FEMA registration number (1-800-621-3362) printed on them.
 

FEMA's Private Sector division found creative ways to get information to the public after Tropical Storm Irene flooded much of the state by printing disaster assistance information on coffee sleeves.
Burlington, VT, November 1, 2011 -- FEMA's Private Sector division found creative ways to get information to the public after Tropical Storm Irene flooded much of the state by printing disaster assistance information on coffee sleeves. FEMA is providing assistance to those who were impacted by Tropical Storm Irene.

We may have tackled coffee and hay, but our work isn’t done. Our next challenge is to figure out a way to promote our messages through the bovine community, since Vermont has more cows per capita than any other state. We figure if we can find a way to get the word out by using cattle as billboards, we may have found new meaning to the phrase "cattle branding."

For more on the ongoing recovery efforts in Vermont, visit our disaster page. And as a reminder, the deadline to apply for federal assistance in Vermont is November 15, so if you or someone you know is in an eligible county and was affected by the storm, apply today.

And if you have a great idea about how we can continue to use creative means to communicate with and support survivors here in Vermont, let us know. Leave a comment below.

Editor’s note: FEMA established the Private Sector division in 2007 to improve information sharing and coordination between government and the private sector. This partnership has proven extremely beneficial to the recovery and resilience of a community affected by disaster.

North Dakota: Flood Recovery & Faith-Based Groups

David Myers (left), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan, at a flood-damaged home.
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- David Myers (left), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan, at a flood-damaged home. Myers and Finegan were in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

Robin Finegan, Administrator, FEMA Region VIII (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) and David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships were in Minot recently and wanted to provide their perspective on the recovery efforts and vital role of faith-based and community groups.

Below is an update from Robin on the ongoing recovery in Minot:



Historic flooding of the Souris River damaged thousands of homes, businesses, farms, and public facilities across North Dakota, most notably in the town of Minot and in Ward County. FEMA continues to provide assistance to disaster survivors and local governments affected by the flooding and its aftermath.

As winter approaches, FEMA’s main focus is to ensure that residents have a safe, warm place to stay. With housing resources limited in the Minot area, FEMA has brought in more than 2,000 mobile homes for eligible survivors to live in as they restore their homes or identify permanent housing. Work continues to get these units in place, and to move families in as soon as possible.

In addition to providing temporary living arrangements for survivors, we’re also working with Minot residents on winterization of flood damaged homes. Strong partnerships between FEMA and faith-based and community groups are critical as we continue to reach out to all survivors. These community groups are valuable partners before, during and after disasters as they support survivors and communities.

With more specifics on the steps Minot homeowners are taking and the role of faith-based and community organizations, here’s David Myers:
 

The “winterize-ing” that Robin is referring to is a process called “cut and muck” and “button up”. “Cut and muck” means removing the sludge and mud from the basements of damaged homes to minimize freezing during the winter months and cause stress on the home’s foundations. Many -- if not most – of the damaged homes cannot be repaired until spring; that’s where “button up” comes in. This means putting heaters and insulation in basements to prevent freezing and further damage to the structure.

During our visit to North Dakota, Robin and I met with leaders of the voluntary agency community, as well as local leaders from Minot. As with any disaster, the contributions of faith-based and community groups are having a tremendous impact. During the response phase, local National VOAD agencies, along with faith-based groups, stepped up to the many challenges: sheltering, mass feeding, working to ensure the safety of pets, and numerous other response-phase activities. Now these and other groups are taking on the tasks of long-term recovery. The response and recovery even went “international,” with Mennonite Disaster Service teams coming from Canada (beginning a two-year commitment to help), Christian Reform World Relief Committee, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and others.

Here’s some of their work in photos...

Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan and David Myers (center), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, visit with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster President Mickey Caison (left)
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan and David Myers (center), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, visit with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster President Mickey Caison (left) during a meeting with volunteers from the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota who are helping prepare or "button up" a flooded Minot home before winter. Finegan and Myers were in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan visits with Dale, a Wisconsin-based volunteer.
Minot, ND, October 12, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan visits with Dale, a Wisconsin-based volunteer helping the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota clean and "muck out" a flooded Minot home. Finegan was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addresses a Minot Community Organization Active in Disaster meeting.
Minot, ND, October 12, 2011 -- David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addresses a Minot Community Organization Active in Disaster meeting about recovery efforts at Minot's Vincent United Methodist Church. Myers was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, stands by the steps and door front remains of a flooded Minot home.
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, stands by the steps and door front remains of a flooded Minot home as a Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota volunteer helps prepare or "button up" a home before winter. Myers was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

(Accompanying Robin and David were National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) President, Mickey Caison; Erin Coryell, from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation; Region VIII VAL, Art Storey; and others. Federal Coordinating Officer Deanne Criswell, joined the team, as well as staff members from the North Dakota Senators’ and Representative’s offices who participated in many of the meetings. Several members of the team also met with the Minot Area Community Foundation to discuss aspects of the recovery. )

Connecticut: Simple techniques can reduce damage to your home

In my last blog post, I talked about how FEMA is reaching out in the community to help survivors of Tropical Storm Irene rebuild smarter. Since the response to sharing these rebuilding tips in Connecticut has been positive, I’d like to share how one Connecticut couple benefited from using some of these techniques.

Tropical Storm Irene’s fierce winds collapsed houses into the Long Island Sound along the Connecticut coast, and rocked some homes off their foundations. In many cases, second floors of houses along the coast were destroyed. Some residents said the storm was the worst they had experienced in 50 years.

One couple, John and Regina, even found seashells strongly embedded into the second floor deck of their house in East Haven. However, their home suffered significantly less damage than neighboring homes because of some smart building techniques that had implemented long before the storm.

A seawall, which helped deflect the force of the waves, was in place when John & Regina bought their nearly 100-year-old house in 2003.

The couple then implemented a few other techniques to protect their home against flooding, most of which were relatively simple to accomplish. Below are photos of these techniques in action – to learn more about protecting your home from flooding, visit Ready.gov/floods.

Elevate Critical Appliances & Outlets


They installed their hot water heater and furnace in their attic and elevated their house in 2006 – raising their deck to 14.5 feet above the surface of the beach.

Two air conditioning units and an electrical box are stored on a platform that fits them alongside the house, on the second floor level. The platform can be reached by service technicians and meter readers by a service staircase built especially for such access.

This staircase was built specifically to lead to a platform on the exterior of a home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.
Above: This staircase was built specifically to lead to a platform on the exterior of a home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. where two air conditioning units and an electrical box are stored. The equipment, elevated to the second floor of the home, was not damaged during Tropical Storm Irene.

Electrical outlets have been elevated at least four feet higher than normal.

Moisture-resistant cement board is being installed in this home.
Above: Moisture-resistant cement board is being installed in this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.; Electric outlets have been elevated to minimize damage during future flooding.

Protect the Exterior of the Structure

Breakaway walls were installed on the ground level of the house.

Breakaway walls (just above the sidewalk) helped reduce damages to this home.
Above: Breakaway walls (just above the sidewalk) helped reduce damages to this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. during Tropical Storm Irene.

Permanent storm shutters frame the front windows of John & Regina’s house; rolling shutters protect the back windows of the house, which faces the rugged waters of the Long Island Sound.

Above: Permanent rolling shutters helped reduce damages to this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. during Tropical Storm Irene.
Above: Permanent rolling shutters helped reduce damages to this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. during Tropical Storm Irene.

Four feet of sheetrock and insulation, damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, was removed and will be replaced by moisture-resistant insulation. The moisture resistant insulation will be installed behind a panel of cement board.

Moisture-resistant insulation is being installed in this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.
Above: Moisture-resistant insulation is being installed in this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.

Supporting Disaster Recovery in New England

Author: 

Even as the leaves change color in New England, many communities across the region are still working hard, recovering from the damage from this past season’s destructive weather.

At FEMA, we continue to work closely with our state and local partners that are still recovering from the tornadoes that swept through the Connecticut River Valley and the aftermath of tropical storm Irene. Both events affected homes, businesses and communities in all six states in the region. We continue to support individuals and communities affected by these disasters, and the recovery has come a long way, as this video shows:




Between June 1 and October 1, across New England, FEMA and the Small Business Administration has provided the following support:
 

  • 6,302 individuals and families approved for grants totaling $29,160,789
  • 434 individuals and families approved for low-interest disaster loans totaling $20,542,400
  • 52 businesses approved for low-interest disaster loans totaling $5,684,100

And as of Thursday, October 13, $4,841,388 in public assistance grants have been obligated for 416 local governments and private nonprofits. The numbers will continue to rise; our work here is far from over.

FEMA has set up offices across the region to ensure we’re working closely with our partners at the state, local and tribal levels, as well as voluntary organizations and others in the private sector. We want to ensure that every penny of assistance eligible under law reaches the communities that need them.

As New Englanders work to recover from the impact of the recent storms, FEMA continues to offer assistance and support to local and state partners across the region. We are proud partners in this recovery effort and remain committed to offer support and assistance for the remainder of the recovery effort.

For more on the ongoing recovery efforts, visit our disaster pages:

Connecticut – Tropical Storm Irene
Maine – Tropical Storm Irene
Massachusetts – Severe Storms and Tornadoes
Massachusetts – Tropical Storm Irene
Rhode Island – Tropical Storm Irene
Vermont – Tropical Storm Irene
New Hampshire – Tropical Storm Irene

Alabama “Be Ready” Events: Consider Your Role in Disaster

Author: 

When disaster strikes, it’s the first responders right there in your local community who make the difference in effective disaster response – the firefighters, medics, utility workers, the faith and community-based groups, the crisis counselors and search and rescue teams. And these are just some of the people who serve during emergencies or disasters.

But, could you play a key role in your community during a disaster?

Folks all over Alabama asked themselves that question as communities across the state held “Be Ready” events throughout September, recognized as National Preparedness Month.

There, residents got to talk with both paid and volunteer first responders from local, state and federal agencies. Citizens asked questions about what it takes to serve the community during a crisis. They also learned about the services, plans and procedures that are put into place in advance of any disaster that may strike. They learned that being prepared for a disaster can mean more than just having a safe room and an evacuation plan.

Here’s a video from one “Be Ready” event:



Though people in Alabama have recently experienced tornadoes and severe storms, they could also be faced with other natural and man-made hazards, such as:



There are as many ways to serve during a disaster as there are different types of disasters. After Alabama’s devastating tornadoes in April 2011, volunteers worked together on everything from rebuilding homes to writing grants for safe rooms. If you’d like to volunteer in your community, you could join Citizen Corps or register with one of the many faith-based organizations that serve during times of crisis.

If you’re looking for opportunities that can make a lasting difference in your community, I encourage you to consider getting involved with helping your community prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

Troy, Ala., September 8, 2011 - Students interact with a Patient Simulator at Be Ready Day. The simulator, which speaks, cries, bleeds and moves, makes it possible for practicing patient care with real reactions to emergency situations. Be Ready Day, hosted by Troy University and sponsored by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, emphasized teaching students about safety in a number of areas, including tornado preparedness.
Troy, Ala., September 8, 2011 - Students interact with a Patient Simulator at Be Ready Day. The simulator, which speaks, cries, bleeds and moves, makes it possible for practicing patient care with real reactions to emergency situations. Be Ready Day, hosted by Troy University and sponsored by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, emphasized teaching students about safety in a number of areas, including tornado preparedness.

One Month Out, Connecticut Recovery Continues

Dayville, CT, Brooklyn, CT, September 29, 2011 -- FEMA Community Education Specialist, Steven Klein, right, shows a Mitigation activity book to local resident Dylan Lacasse, 3, during a community education outreach event at Lowe's. FEMA specialists distributed over 200 cd's that include mitigation publications for Tropical Storm Irene.

Dayville, CT, Brooklyn, CT, September 29, 2011 -- FEMA Community Education Specialist, Steven Klein, right, shows a Mitigation activity book to local resident Dylan Lacasse, 3, during a community education outreach event at Lowe's. FEMA specialists distributed over 200 cd's that include mitigation publications for Tropical Storm Irene.

It’s been a month since President Obama’s Sept. 2 major disaster declaration for the state of Connecticut following Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA and its state partners continue to make major strides in the support of the Constitution State’s recovery.

Providing assistance & getting the word out to survivors
Our community relations teams have been canvassing the state and have visited more than 5,600 homes. Working closely with faith-based and community-based organizations, we’ve met face-to-face with nearly 16,000 people to let them know about the many resources available to them for disaster recovery. To date, our community relations teams have also facilitated a dozen local forums, answering requests from towns, congressional staffs, mayors and selectmen. These efforts have led to more than 6,000 residents registering for assistance and more than $4.3 million in aid being disbursed to disaster survivors.

Keeping the pace, we have transitioned 11 Disaster Recovery Centers into seven Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Location Outreach Centers, with one disaster recovery center open through Oct. 6. These centers allow residents and business owners to meet with SBA officials to answer their questions, explain SBA’s disaster loan program and help them complete their disaster loan application.

Meanwhile, we continue to meet one-on-one with officials from local jurisdictions to provide information and assistance regarding their damage claims. We currently have more than 80 meetings scheduled with local officials in town and city governments to share information about disaster recovery programs.

Rebuilding tips for Connecticut residents

We’re also helping survivors rebuild smarter, providing the public with tips and advice at 19 home improvement stores throughout the state. While shopping, residents can stop by a mitigation outreach table and find out how to protect their homes from future storms and disasters. Here are details about some of the upcoming mitigation events in:

Together with our partners across the emergency management team, we will continue to remain focused on making the state’s recovery a speedy and thorough one.

Update on our Disaster Relief Fund: Congressional Action Enables Us to Lift Funding Restrictions

Posted by: Brad Carroll, Press Secretary

Back in August, to ensure we had the resources needed to continue to provide assistance to individual disaster survivors, as well as support our state partners in their response to future disasters, we placed some funding restrictions on longer-term repair, rebuilding and mitigation projects from previous and current disasters that are funded through our Disaster Relief Fund.

This strategy, which we call “immediate needs funding”, has been used in previous years to help preserve our Disaster Relief Fund so we can continue to meet the immediate needs of individuals and communities affected by disasters.

Today, because Congress has appropriated additional resources for our Disaster Relief Fund, we can announce that we are lifting those funding restrictions and once again providing funds for longer-term recovery projects.

This will include providing funds for projects that were placed on hold since August. We are in the process of working with our state and local partners across the country to get these projects moving again and to continue to help support their recoveries. For updates on short-term and long-term projects, visit our disaster pages.

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