Helena, MT -- Almost $1 million in disaster assistance funds have been issued to Montana residents and businesses since the August 30 presidential disaster declaration following the state's disastrous wildfires. And more than 1900 people who suffered property loss or damage, or economic injury as a result of the fires and land closures, have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance programs.
"We are pleased that people are registering," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell. "And we are urging anyone who hasn't called and who may have been impacted by the wildfires and forest closure either directly or indirectly to call 1-800-745-0243 to register for disaster assistance."
"We are seeing many registrations from people and businesses who lost work or business because of the fires and land closures," said State Coordinating Officer Jim Greene. "Economic injury is clearly one of the most serious side effects of this year's devastating fire season."
The 1,867 FEMA registrants come from 41 of Montana's 48 declared counties and six Indian reservations. A breakdown of the disaster assistance provided to date is as follows:
- Fifty-five applicants have qualified for $61,211 in housing assistance for temporary housing or to make emergency repairs to make their home livable.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $687,000 in low-interest loans. Of these 24 loans, $95,100 is for homes, $40,900 for businesses and $551,900 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The agency has issued a total of 1,556 applications and has received 166 completed forms.
- More than 686 individuals have filed for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The State Department of Labor and Industry has disbursed $137,157 in disaster unemployment benefits to 291 individuals who lost 1079 weeks of work because of the disaster.
- Five people who faced eviction or foreclosure as a result of the wildfires have qualified for $9,949.99.
- Seventeen individual and family grants totaling $94,651 have been approved for families with serious unmet needs not covered by insurance or other disaster assistance programs. Six of these grants-totaling $83,400--were for the maximum allowable grant.
- Housing inspectors have inspected 119 homes and buildings damaged or destroyed by the fires as the first step in processing disaster assistance applications.