Phoenix, AZ -- Renters, homeowners and business owners who sustained losses as result of the recent severe storms and flooding may find help through a variety of state and federal programs, according to state and federal disaster recovery officials. At the request of Gov. Jane Dee Hull, four Arizona counties were declared a major disaster area by President Clinton on October 27. Counties designated for disaster assistance for individuals and families are La Paz and Maricopa counties; also, Cochise, La Paz and Santa Cruz counties are designated for disaster assistance to local governments.
"We are doing everything within our power to make sure services are provided to those who need them," David Fukutomi, the federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort, said. "A number of disaster assistance programs are in place to help the people of Arizona recover from this terrible flooding."
The primary aid programs for individuals and families include temporary disaster housing assistance, low-interest loans for repair and replacement of real or personal property and grants to help meet serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by other assistance programs.
Flood victims in the designated counties are eligible to apply for assistance and are urged to call FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029. The registration line for persons who are hearing or speech impaired is TTY 1-800-462-7585. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. till 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
Additionally, in Cochise, La Paz and Santa Cruz counties the Presidential disaster declaration provides federal funding for the removal of debris causing health and safety hazards, and the repair and replacement of flood-damaged public facilities, such as roads or bridges.
"We are working closely with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the various government and voluntary agencies to identify people in need of services and help them obtain the assistance they need," Fukutomi said. Many different voluntary agencies provide for immediate emergency needs following a disaster.
Programs available to eligible applicants may include:
- Disaster Housing Assistance, administered by FEMA, for individuals and families whose homes were destroyed or made unlivable as a result of the flood. The program provides funding for temporary accommodations or minimal home repairs to make a property safe, secure and habitable.
- Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration for homeowners, renters or business owners for the repair, replacement or rebuilding of disaster-damaged property.
- Grants through the Individual and Family Grant program for those who have serious immediate needs resulting from the disaster that cannot be met by other sources.