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 $5 million to 2,374 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:
- The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs closed June 24. The DRC in La Junta remains open. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and closed on Sunday. The DRC in La Junta is staffed with representatives from FEMA housing and mitigation, as well as representatives from the US Small Business Administration who can assist with disaster loan applications to individuals and businesses. To date DRCs in Colorado have provided information to more than 700 individuals and business owners in the counties affected by the severe storms and flooding. Individuals with questions about assistance or the status of an application can visit the La Junta DRC, or call the toll-free Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-462-7586).
- The deadline for applying for federal disaster assistance in the designated counties of Bent, El Paso, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo, and Weld is Friday, July 16, three weeks away. The deadline for applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in Pueblo County is July 8. The DUA deadline in the other counties has passed.
- The key to disaster victims being eligible for additional assistance lies in the return of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan-application packages. Victims who have already received some disaster assistance may be eligible for additional assistance through the state administered Individual and Family Grant Program. This could include disaster-related expenses such as replacement of essential personal property, transportation, or the rental of equipment to help with recovery. These grants may also be used for items not normally covered under the SBA Disaster Loan program, such as disaster-related medical and dental bills. However, the SBA loan packet must be returned in order for applicants to be referred to the Individual and Family Grant Program.
- 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.
- As of Friday, June 25, the disaster assistance for Bent, El Paso, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo and Weld counties was more than $5 million. FEMA's Disaster Housing Assistance Program approved $1,489,314. The State of Colorado-administered Individual Family Grants program provided $678,828. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved $3,678,100 in low-interest disaster loans to individuals and businesses.
- FEMA's toll-free registration number is 1-800-462-9029. Hearing or speech impaired individuals may call the FEMA TTY Hotline at 1-800-462-758...