Columbus, OH -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the severe storms and flooding of February 18 through March 2. Even if residents have already registered for a low-interest loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), they need to call the toll-free number to be eligible for federal and state programs.
Brad Gair, Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and James R. Williams, State Coordinating Officer, Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free application number, 1 800 462-9029, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), Monday through Saturday, until further notice. Those with a speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1 800 462-7585.
In response to a request from Gov. Bob Taft, Thursday, March 1, President Clinton signed a major disaster declaration yesterday. The declaration designated the counties Adams, Gallia, Lawrence, Meigs and Scioto, eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
The declaration makes residents of these counties eligible for a wide range of programs such as funding for disaster housing assistance, SBA low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious need and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Residents and businesses who suffered damage or loss and have insurance coverage should first contact their insurance company. If they find they have unmet needs they should apply for disaster assistance.
When calling to apply have the following information available:
- Your current phone number
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
- Your Social Security number, if available
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered
- Good directions to the property that was damaged
- If insured, your insurance policy number, or the agent's and company name
- General financial information
According to Gair, individuals who have suffered damage and have unmet needs are encouraged to call the application number immediately. "Even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the flooding, don't prejudge your eligibility," he said. "It's important that all residents get the assistance they are entitled to."
Disaster Assistance Program Information
When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers a number of disaster assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal agencies that provide services to help people through the recovery process. The types of assistance that are available follow:
Federal Emergency Management Agency Programs
Disaster Housing Assistance: Housing assistance to individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Types of aid include grants for (1) alternate rental housing; (2) emergency repairs needed to make a residence habitable; and (3) mortgage or rental assistance in cases where the disaster has caused extreme economic hardship.
Individual and Family Grant Program: Provides grants to individuals and families to meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other federal, state or voluntary agency disaster assistance programs.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: Weekly benefits are available to those individuals out of work due to the...