CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- More than $1,000,000 in disaster housing assistance grants have been issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for those affected by the severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes, May 16-29.
"Meeting housing needs for storm victims is our top priority and this is just the beginning," Federal Coordinating Officer Curt Musgrave said. Checks have been written to 542 applicants. "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.
Over 2,200 Iowans have already registered for federal disaster assistance through FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-462-9029. TTY service is available at 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Hours for registration are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday, June 5. Starting Monday, June 7, recovery specialists will be available at these numbers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice.
The registrations included homeowners, renters, and business owners from 10 counties designated disaster areas by President Clinton on May 21. On June 2, three more Iowa counties were added to the disaster designation, making residents and business owners of those counties also eligible for a variety of aid programs. The 13 counties now eligible are Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Harrison, Jones, and Linn.
To further aid storm victims, five Disaster Recovery Centers opened on Monday, June 1. Almost 200 applicants came to the five centers that day. These temporary centers are designed to provide information to those who have already applied for assistance through the toll-free number and may have further questions. Representatives of state, federal and voluntary agencies are present, including loan officers from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The centers are located in
- Dunkerton , 509 S. Canfield (behind the school)
- Dubuque 405 Main Street (in the basement)
- Fayette, Clark & North Streets (in the Methodist Church)
- Independence, Highway 150 North (in the Falcon Civic Center)
- Volga, 507 Washington St. (in the Civic Center)
To date, SBA has issued 1,765 applications and has received 164 applications for processing. Twenty loans have been approved for a total of $209,300.
More than 175 state and federal disaster workers are in Iowa to assist with the recovery efforts. There are 36 inspectors in the field, 30 representatives from the SBA, 95 FEMA personnel and 20 from Iowa.