DULUTH, Minn. -- More than $1.4 million in grants and low-interest loans have been approved for some of the 918 Minnesota residents, who have applied for disaster assistance, following last month's severe storms, wind, and flooding in the Arrowhead and Iron Range, according to figures released today by state and federal disaster officials.
In addition to the assistance for homeowners, renters, and business owners, 110 communities and county agencies in the eight declared counties have applied for public assistance (infrastructure). The program is designed to help cover damage costs for debris removal, emergency services, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, and schools. Local officials have attended Applicant's Briefings and work has already begun on some community claims.
St. Louis County has the largest number of individual applicants with 663, followed Itasca (122), Cook (89), Lake (29) and Cass (15). State and federal disaster officials urged residents and business owners in these counties to apply for assistance if they sustained damages or losses from the severe storms, which hit the area between July 4 to August 2.
The application process begins with just one toll-free phone call that takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The number is 1-800-462-9029 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Application specialists are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday
In a little more than two weeks since President Clinton's declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a total of $599,042 in grants through its Disaster Housing Program for 425 applicants. This initial assistance program covers temporary rental assistance or essential home repairs to make a residence livable until more extensive repair or reconstruction can be completed.
More than $26,224 has also been approved for nine five applicants through the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program. Administered by the Minnesota Department of Emergency Management (DEM), the IFG program is designed to meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other disaster assistance programs. FEMA provides 75 percent of the funding and the State covers the remaining 25 percent.
Thirty homeowners and two business owners have been approved for low-interest loans totally $788,800 from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Low-interest disaster loans, which are currently under four percent, are the major source of financial assistance to replace loss and damaged property or to make long-term repairs for homeowners, renters, and business owners.
SBA has issued loan applications for 506 renters and homeowners and 141 for businesses, including those who are self-employed and operate their own business. To date, only seven businesses and 82 home or personal property applications have been returned.
Officials expect that number to continue to grow, and urged applicants return the forms as soon as possible. If you received an application for an SBA disaster loan, it must be completed and returned, either in person or by mail, or other forms of disaster assistance may be delayed. The application deadline is September 25.
Two U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan offices are also available in Hibbing and Grand Marais to assist applicants. The Hibbing office is located the Memorial Building, 400 East 23rd, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and in Grand Marais at the Cook County Courthouse, 411 West 2nd Avenue, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
These offices are only temporary and applicants who wish to talk face-to-face with a loan specialist should do so at their earliest possible chance.
After these offices close, help is only a toll-free call away. The FEMA Helpline is available for you call to updated personal info...