Toledo, OH -- As part of the disaster recovery effort, a grant program has been activated and almost $150,000 has been approved to help people with the costs of disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other programs, according to federal and state disaster recovery officials.
The Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program provides a safety net for people who have exhausted all other means of assistance and still have financial obligations as a result of the storms and flooding in Lucas County that they simply cannot meet, State Coordinating Officer Dale Shipley, Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), said.
"The amount of the grant depends on the unmet needs of the applicant," Shipley said. The initial approval represents just 87 claims and these totals will continue to rise. The grants are a last resort and in most cases are available only if an applicant has been denied a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The IFG program is administered by the Ohio EMA, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) covering 75 percent of eligible costs and the state providing the remaining 25 percent. The program is just one of the many types of assistance triggered by the major disaster declaration, which President Bill Clinton issued on August 21 at the request of Gov. Bob Taft.
"Disaster victims do not directly apply for grants, but must begin the disaster assistance process by calling the toll-free number at 800-462-9029 or TTY 800-462-7585 for the speech of hearing impaired," FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Lou Botta, said. "The phone lines are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and multi-lingual operators are available to take your call."
IFG grants may be used to cover such disaster-related expenses such as essential home repairs, replacement of personal property, or transportation. Grants may also be used for items not normally covered under the SBA disaster loan programs such as medical and dental bills or funeral expenses.
In addition to the IFG grants, almost $3 million has been approved for 1,700 disaster housing grants to cover temporary rental assistance or emergency minimal repairs to make a home habitable. The SBA has also approved $978,300 in low-interest loans for 87 loans (74 for homeowners and renters and 13 for business owners). Almost 3,000 residents have called to apply for disaster assistance.
Applicants are urged to call the FEMA Helpline at 800-525-0321 to get information about the IFG grants and other disaster assistance programs. Persons who are hearing or speech impaired may call the TTY Helpline at 800-462-7585 (the same as the application line). The Helpline operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Flood victims may also visit the downtown Disaster Recovery Center, which is located on the first floor of the Federal Building at 234 N. Summit St., to talk face-to-face with recovery specialists. The center will be open today until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Next week the facility will reopen on Monday (Sept. 18) as an SBA Workshop to provide application assistance with low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners. The new workshop hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Loan officers will continue to be available to assist applicants. If you receive an SBA loan application you should complete and return the packet as soon as possible. SBA officials pointed out if the packet is not returned it may delay other forms of disaster assistance, such as the IFG program.
The application deadline is Friday, October 20. Assistance can continue beyond the deadline, but you must cal...