Xenia, OH -- Individuals and families whose homes were damaged or destroyed as a result of the tornado may be eligible for disaster housing assistance, according to Lou Botta, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort.
"Our top priority is to make sure that everyone is in safe, secure and livable housing," Botta said. "The disaster housing program is designed to provide immediate assistance to those whose homes were made unlivable because of the tornado."
Almost 200 victims have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free number, 800-462-9029, to apply. There is also a special TTY number, 800-462-7585, for the speech or hearing impaired. Both lines are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
"There are a variety of state and federal disaster assistance programs available," Dale Shipley, State Coordinating Officer, Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), said. "We want to provide all the eligible assistance possible and help victims begin the recovery process."
The disaster-housing program provides two types of assistance. Rental assistance grants are available to owners or tenants whose homes were destroyed or substantially damaged so they can have a place to live while repairs are being made. Grants for limited home repairs are available to homeowners for emergency repairs needed to make their residences habitable until more extensive repairs can be made. Examples of emergency work could include essential repairs to electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems, as well as general carpentry to make a home safe and habitable.
"These grants are not intended to restore a home to its pre-disaster condition and cannot be used for cosmetic repairs or repairs covered by insurance," Botta said. "To qualify for a limited home repair grant, the applicant must be an owner-occupant and the home must be the primary residence."
Housing assistance is one of the programs available to Ohio residents in Greene County as a result of the disaster declaration issued by issued by President Clinton on Tuesday (September 26) following the tornado, which struck the area a week ago.