COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Colorado Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have provided disaster assistance of more than $6.6 million to 2,664 households and businesses affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred between April 29 - May 19. An additional $567,800 has been provided for rebuilding infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and parks, bringing the total federal and state aid so far to almost $7.2 million.
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 La Junta Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is closing Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m. To date, DRCs in Colorado have provided information to 861 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 today, or call the toll-free Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-462-7585).
- The deadline for applying for federal disaster assistance in the designated counties of Bent, El Paso, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo, and Weld is today, Friday, July 16.
- The $567,800 in funds for repairing damage to the public infrastructure is now in the process of being distributed to local governments. That amount is expected to grow significantly as applications continue to be processed. Affected counties eligible are Bent, Crowley, Custer, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Kiowa, Las Animas, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo, and Weld. The federal government, through FEMA's Public Assistance Program, funds 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing, restoring, or replacing damaged public facilities such as roads, bridges and utilities. The state government funds an additional 12.5 percent, and the local governments match that share.
- Victims who have already received some disaster assistance may be eligible for additional assistance through the state-administered Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG). This could include disaster-related expenses such as replacement of essential personal property, transportation, or the rental of equipment to help with recovery. To be eligible for this IFG assistance, by federal law the victims must return their U.S. Small Business Administration loan application by the registration deadline.
- Residents are warned to be careful when pumping out basements. If a basement is drained too quickly, the pressure outside the walls will be greater than the pressure inside the walls, which can make the walls and floor crack and collapse, causing serious damage to the house's or building's overall structure. More information on flooding and the National Flood Insurance Program can be obtained at the FEMA website, www.fema.gov, or by calling toll free 1-888-CALL-FLOOD.
- As of the close of business Thursday, July 15, the disaster assistance to households and businesses in Bent, El Paso, Larimer, Otero, Pueblo and Weld counties was more than $6.6 million. FEMA's Disaster Housing Assistance Program had approved $1,642,371. The State of Colorado-administered Individual and Family Grants Program had approved $810,006. The U.S. Small Business Administration had approved $4,199,700 in low-intere...