Chicago, IL -- Only one month is left for southern Ohio storm victims to register for disaster assistance programs, announced officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA). The deadline to apply for federal and state disaster assistance is Saturday, May 6.
The application deadline is set at 60 days after the presidential declaration of March 7. The toll-free disaster assistance registration number 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) is available from 8 AM to 7 PM Monday through Friday and from 1:30 PM to 7 PM Saturday. Those who have already applied may check on the status of their application or update information by calling the toll-free FEMA Helpline, 1-800-525-0321, from 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday.
May 6 is also the deadline for disaster victims to return the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan packet. Even if residents are not interested in accepting a loan or think they cannot afford a loan, completing the forms is required to be considered for any type of assistance under federal and state programs. To date, 52 SBA disaster assistance loans totaling $794,100 have been approved.
"Even if you received assistance for the 1997 flooding or currently have an SBA low-interest loan, you may still be eligible for disaster assistance for the recent flooding," said Ohio Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Williams. "That one toll-free call is your application for both state and federal disaster assistance programs."
Disaster assistance has reached nearly $1 million since President Clinton issued a major disaster declaration March 7 for Adams, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike and Scioto counties. More than 950 residents and business owners in the seven declared counties have already called to apply, according to figures released by state and federal disaster officials.
A total of $1,903,651 in grants and low-interest loans has been approved for 697 of the applicants, who suffered losses from the severe storms and flooding last month. Disaster housing grants, which cover temporary rental assistance and emergency essential repairs, currently total more than $916,562. Federal grants do not have to be repaid and the disaster assistance funds are non-taxable.
Another $192,989 has also been approved for 79 applicants referred to the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program. Administered by the state, the program provides grants to individuals and families to meet serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other federal, state, or voluntary agency disaster assistance programs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides 75 percent of the funds for the IFG grants and the state covers the remaining 25 percent.
"Although we realize that we can not make people whole again, we hope that the financial assistance will help them begin the recovery process," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Brad Gair.
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