RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Disaster assistance for residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation has reached more than $2 million, according to disaster officials. The assistance comes from a variety of federal and state programs included in the disaster declaration signed by President Clinton on June 9.
Pete Bakersky, Federal Coordinating Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted that, "The two million dollar plus figure includes assistance from various federal and state programs. These programs include Disaster Housing, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loan program, the Individual & Family Grant Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling services and the Public Assistance Program for infrastructure repair and replacement."
- More than $485,000 has been approved for Disaster Housing, which includes funding for disaster related damages not covered by insurance. A total of $396,637 has been approved for immediate home repair assistance and $90,147 for rental assistance. FEMA's disaster housing program provides funding for essential repairs required to make the home livable, or for eligible applicants to rent other places to live while their home is repaired.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $501,600 in low-interest loans, while the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program has provided $568 in claims to eligible applicants.
- The Individual & Family Grant Program, administered by the State of South Dakota, has approved nearly $329,000 in grants for 200 households. The program is designed to meet the necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster that cannot be met by other sources. The program cannot duplicate benefits already provided by another agency.
- The FEMA-funded Crisis Counseling grant of $193,885 continues to provide disaster counseling and other support services to individuals affected by the early June severe storms and tornadoes. The federal grant provides alternative outreach services through the State Division of Mental Health. The state application for additional funding has been submitted for nine additional months of counseling services.
- Assistance totaling $628,950 has been approved under the Public Assistance Program. The program provided infrastructure support to several state entities, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and one private non-profit organization for debris removal, protective measures, and permanent repair of roads, public buildings and public utilities.
In addition to the $2 million that has been provided through the many programs, FEMA has brought in travel trailers and mobile homes as temporary replacements for the damaged and destroyed residences affected by the disaster.
Providing adequate housing continues to be the top priority of disaster officials. "From the beginning, our primary focus has been to get people back into habitable housing," Bakersky said." "The immediate need for housing has been addressed and everyone who has registered and eligible for disaster housing is either in a travel trailer, leasing a mobile home, or has returned to their own homes."
- Currently 35 travel trailers and 29 mobile homes are leased and have families living in them. The number of travel trailers will decrease as families move into winterized mobile homes or return to their repaired residence.
- The Mobile Home Group Site, currently under construction, is progressing on schedule. Installation of sewer risers, water service, meter pits, freezeless risers and hydrant setting is nearing completion. Site grading, roads and electric utility installation will be completed prior to moving ...