Helena, MT -- A total of $513,152 in grants and more than $2.4 million in low-interest disaster loans have been issued to Montana residents and businesses since President Clinton declared Montana a major disaster area on August 30. The disaster declaration was for wildfires that hit the state between July 13 and Sept. 25. More than 2,100 applications have been received from individuals and businesses sustaining property loss or economic injury as a result of the fires and land closures, according to federal and state disaster officials.
The total number of registrations stands at 2,118 as of Oct. 23. This includes both individuals and businesses. (A breakdown by county is listed below. Reservations are included in the county totals.)
The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program has, so far, approved 589 individual applications for compensation. To date 1,865 weeks have been paid for a total of $265,921.
Checks for disaster housing assistance continue to be issued. Ninety-six individuals and families have received checks. The total is $128,367. Of that amount, $23,920 has been for rental assistance to help families rent another place to live while repairing or rebuilding their homes. Home repair assistance accounted for $50,743. These funds help pay for repairs to homes that sustained a lesser degree of damage so that the family can continue to live in the home while permanent repairs are made. There were three checks issued for Transient Accommodations with a total of $3,510. This assistance covers short-term housing expenses. Mortgage and rental assistance has issued $50,194 to help families facing foreclosure or eviction because of lost income resulting from the wildfires.
The state-administered Individual and Family Grant Program has so far approved 26 grants for serious need not met by insurance or other disaster programs. The total amount of those grants is $129,551. Seven grants have been approved for the maximum amount of $13,900. Voluntary organizations may be able to help with any remaining unmet needs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has to date approved 60 loans with a total of $2,433,800. The loans include eight for home and personal property losses totaling $483,600; 4 for businesses that sustained physical losses totaling $51,600; and 49 for Economic Injury Disaster Loans totaling $1,898,600.
"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."
"We are pleased that people have registered and been helped," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell. "We are urging anyone who hasn't called and who may have been affected by the wildfires and forest closures either directly or indirectly to call 1-800-745-0243 to register for disaster assistance."
The registration totals by county: