COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Colorado Office of Emergency Management and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have provided disaster assistance of more than $4.5 million to almost 2,200 people affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred between April 29 - May 19.
Assistance available to homeowners, renters and businesses includes FEMA housing assistance, low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals not covered by other types of unemployment benefits, legal services, and, in some cases, grants to cover other uninsured or underinsured losses. The specific amount and type of assistance provided varies from case to case.
Following is a summary of the week's activities:
- Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in La Junta and in Colorado Springs, staffed by representatives from state, federal and voluntary agencies, have provided information to 572 individuals and business owners in the counties affected by the severe storms and flooding.
- The deadline for applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance was June 18, with the exception of Pueblo County, which has a deadline of July 8. According to the Colorado Department of Labor, only 18 people have applied for this assistance.
- The deadline for applying for other federal disaster assistance is Friday, July 16, one month away.
- Disaster officials encourage homeowners to take steps to prepare against future floods using a few simple and generally inexpensive ways of preparing in advance: elevating their homes, so that floodwaters go under them, not through them; by buying flood insurance (if their community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, they are eligible); by installing a backflow valve in sewer lines, or floor drain plugs that will prevent sewage from backing up into the home.
- Assistance with home mortgage payments may be available to disaster victims whose mortgages are guaranteed by the Farm Service Agency/Rural Development (FSA/RD), the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA), or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD/FHA). Specific disaster mortgage programs for people who have one of these mortgages, and are having difficulty making payments as a result of the flooding, could include extension, deferral or reamortization of your loan. For more information contact the agencies: HUD/FHA, 1-888-789-9166; VA, 1-800-319-9446; FSA/RD - Bent, 719-456-0757; El Paso, 719-632-9598; Larimer, 970-223-0969; Otero, 719-254-7672; Pueblo, 719-543-8387; Weld, 970-356-8097.
- Disaster recovery officials in Colorado are urging residents in tornado-prone areas to construct a "safe room" in their homes. A safe room provides protection against high wind hazard and can be constructed either above or below ground, with either reinforced concrete or wood-and-steel walls anchored to a concrete slab or foundation. A 25-page illustrated booklet, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House, that outlines the basics of in-house safe room design is available free from FEMA by calling 1-800-480-2520.
- Some renters, homeowners, and businesses that have received disaster assistance may
find their expenses for essential and necessary items to recover from the storms and floods are more than the aid they have received. If so, they should call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 to discuss the possibility of more assistance.
- As of Friday, June 18, the disaster assistance for Bent, El Paso, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo and Weld counties was more than $4.5 million. FEMA's Disaster Housing Assistance Program dispersed $1,370,652. The Sta...