Santa Fe, NM -- Three months following the major disaster declaration for wildfires that burned across New Mexico from May 5 to June 9, almost $21.5 million in grants and loans have been approved for homeowners, renters and businesses, according to state and federal disaster recovery officials. Another $1.3 million has been approved for state and local governments.
The totals will continue to grow as additional money is awarded. These funds, which are made available following a presidential disaster declaration, have been awarded through standard disaster recovery programs operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the New Mexico Division of Emergency Management, the U.S. Department of Labor and the New Mexico Department of Labor.
The greatest number of applications for disaster recovery-3,256 out of a total of 3,509--are from Los Alamos County. Twenty-one counties were included in the major disaster declaration for assistance to individuals and businesses. They are Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola, DeBaca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Guadalupe, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos and Torrance counties.
FEMA assistance to individuals can include temporary rental assistance, use of a temporary mobile home, minor home repairs. More than $535,700 has been approved for this help. Individuals with serious disaster-related needs not met by other government or volunteer agency programs have received almost $315,000 in a program administered by the New Mexico Department of Human Services and funded 75 percent by FEMA.
More than 330 loans totalling $20.6 million have been approved by SBA for homeowners, renters and businesses. Of those, 271 are for homeowners and renters, with 67 loans totalling almost $3.3 million approved for businesses.
Individuals unemployed as a result of the fire have received almost $27,000 in unemployment assistance managed by the New Mexico Department of Labor and funded by FEMA through the U.S. Department of Labor.
The temporary mobile home park built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers through a mission assignment and funding by FEMA now house 81 five survivors in Los Alamos. This number may increase as individuals exhaust their insurance funds or the lease expires on a property they now occupy but is not adequate for their needs. One hundred fourteen homes have been prepared for occupancy. The temporary mobile homes have been deed by FEMA to the State of New Mexico, and Los Alamos County is managing the park.
State and local governments, as well as certain nonprofits providing services of a governmental nature to the general public, may be eligible for grants to remove debris, apply emergency protective measures, and repair or replace public facilities damaged by the disaster. FEMA can pay up to 75 percent of these costs. More than $500,000 has been approved for emergency protective measures, another $72,000 for debris removal, more than $660,000 for repair or replacement of buildings and more than $1,600 for utility repairs.
Funding of these disaster recovery programs will continue after the Cerro Grande Fire Compensation Program officially begins at the end of August. While the compensation program is entirely separate and will be administered separately from FEMA's disaster assistance programs, applicants may continue working with the standard disaster recovery programs in which they currently are participating. For information about the status of a current application, call the FEMA Helpline, 1-800-525-0321 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number for hearing- or speech-impaired individuals is 1-800-426-7585.
The Cerro Grande Fire Compensation Program is unique to the Cerro Grande fire. It was authorized and funded through special Congressional action specifically for Cerro Gr...