CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Less than a week after President Clinton declared 10 Iowa counties disaster areas, more than $250,000 in disaster housing assistance grants have been approved. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working with Iowa officials to help those affected by the severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes that began on May 16, 1999.
"Meeting housing needs for storm victims is our top priority and this is just the beginning," Federal Coordinating Officer Curt Musgrave said. "Many more applications are being processed and damage inspections are underway."
The disaster housing program provides several types of assistance. Homeowners or renters whose residences were destroyed or substantially damaged may be eligible for rental assistance to help pay for a place to live until permanent housing can be found. Grants for essential home repairs also are available to homeowners for basic repairs not covered by insurance to make the home livable. Examples of essential repairs may include those to electrical and plumbing systems, as well as general carpentry to make a home safe and secure.
Almost 1,800 Iowans have already registered for federal disaster assistance. The registrations included homeowners, renters, and business owners from all of the 10 designated counties.
Hours for registration have been extended and will be available through the holiday weekend. They are from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (CDT), seven days a week until further notice. Storm victims are urged to call FEMA's toll-free number: 1-800-462-9029. TTY service is available at 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired.