Xenia, OH -- Federal and state agencies are working in partnership to help Ohio residents following the recent severe storms and tornado. The following is a summary of ongoing response and recovery efforts since the Presidential declaration on September 26th.
FEMA AWARDS CRISIS COUNSELING GRANT
Federal officials announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the State of Ohio more than $44,000 to provide crisis counseling for residents of Greene County. The grant was given to the Ohio Department of Mental Health to provide individual and family therapy and culturally appropriate supportive counseling.
"People in Xenia and surrounding areas have seen their lives severely affected by the storms and tornado on September 20," Federal Coordinating Officer Lou Botta said in approving funds to support the program. "Recovery needs extend beyond physical and financial. FEMA's role is to provide citizens with the basic necessities to rebuild their lives."
The Ohio Department of Mental Health is responsible for overall administration and implementation of the program, called Immediate Services Program for Crisis Counseling. Crisis counseling, community education services, assistance and training are being provided through TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc. of Xenia, Ohio.
Joseph W. Hill, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Ohio Department of Mental Health, points out that people who have gone through a disaster such as a tornado may experience trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, depression and lack of concentration. "Acknowledging feelings and stress is the first step to feeling better," he says. "People who have had to leave their homes due to the storm are especially at risk for stress problems. Generally, these feelings and responses do not last long, but it is not uncommon to experience them many months after the event."
Mr. Hill suggests that talking about disaster experiences and sharing feelings about them will help people feel better about what has happened. Those in the declared counties who wish to talk to someone about their feelings regarding their disaster-related losses are encouraged to contact their local mental health center. All calls will be kept confidential.
STORM VICTIMS RECEIVE MORE THAN $800,000; ASSISTANCE STILL AVAILABLE
Disaster assistance for victims of the severe storms and tornado that hit the Xenia area last month totalled $805,923 in grants and low-interest loans as of close of business on Thursday, October 12. According to federal and state disaster officials, more than 750 people have called to apply for assistance to date.
Disaster housing grants totaling $19,823 have been approved for 26 applicants. These grants, which may be just the first type of assistance, are available to eligible individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed by the storms. In addition, $44,003 has been approved for 10 claims through the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program, which provides a safety net for people who have exhausted all other means of assistance and still have unmet disaster-related needs. These grants are a last resort and, in most cases, are awarded only if an applicant has been denied an SBA disaster loan.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has already approved more than $742,000 in low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners with disaster-related uninsured or under-insured losses. But, SBA officials report that more than 600 SBA loan packets have been issued but have not yet been returned by applicants. If you receive an SBA loan application packet, you should complete and return it as soon as possible in order to be considered for low-interest loans and other disaster grant programs.