Lansing, MI -- In less than three weeks since President Clinton issued a major disaster declaration for Michigan, more than $10 million in grants have been approved for more than 65 percent of the 5,785 applicants in southwestern Wayne County and Oakland County, state and federal disaster officials announced today.
"Disaster assistance is still only a toll-free call, but the application deadline is Dec. 16," the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FFMA) Federal Coordinating Officer, Suzanne Schmitt, said. "When you call, an assistant will guide you through the application interview and provide special assistance if necessary."
Residents in those designated areas that have suffered losses because of the severe storms and flooding on September 10-11 can still apply for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-number, 800-462-9029. Those with a speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 800-462-7585. Both lines are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
More than $9.3 million in Disaster Housing grants and $886,644 in grants from the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program have been approved.
The Disaster Housing grants cover temporary rental assistance or emergency essential repairs, and may be just the first type of assistance that an applicant can receive. A total of $9,306,120 has been approved in southwestern Wayne County for 3,761 applicants and an additional $65,837 for 18 applicants in Oakland County, which was added to the disaster declaration on October 27.
Administered by the state, IFG provides a safety net for people who have exhausted all other means of assistance and still have financial obligations as a result of the flooding that they simply cannot met. FEMA provides 75 percent of the funds and the state covers the remaining 25 percent. To date, all 399 IFG grants have been approved for applicants in Wayne County.
Residents do not have to wait to settle insurance claims or any legal actions before applying. "It's important to apply by the December 16th deadline," Capt. Edward Buikema, State Coordinating Officer, said. "Federal and state disaster assistance is available now and individuals should not delay in applying."
Those who have already applied and want to check on the status of their applications may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-525-0321 or TTY 800-462-7585. Both lines are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
SBA OPENS SIXTH TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE OFFICE
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) opened a new Disaster Loans Assistance Office today at the South Schaefer Neighborhood City Hall, bringing the total to six temporary offices that are available in the affected area. Loan officers are available to answer whatever questions applicants may have about the disaster loan program and walk them through the loan application process step-by-step.
More than $417,000 in low-interest loans has been approved for 28 homeowners. SBA provides disaster loans for renters and homeowners, as well as business owners. SBA has already issued more than 4,309 loan application packets, but only 326 have been completed and returned. If you don't complete this process, consideration of other types of assistance may be delayed.
All SBA offices, except the Southgate Library, will be closed tomorrow for Election Day and on Friday (Nov. 10) in honor of Veteran's Day. The SBA office locations and operating schedules are:
- South Schaefer Neighborhood City Hall
2569 South Schaefer Hwy.
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
- City of Southgate Library (Rooms B & C)
14680 Dix-Toledo Rd.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday
10 to 5 on Frida...