Washington, DC -- Checks totaling more than $1 million in disaster housing grants are being distributed to victims of the recent heavy rains and flooding in Essex, Middlesex, and Norfolk counties, federal and state officials announced today.
A total of $1,306,000 has been issued to 695 families as of 4 p.m. Monday, according to Federal Coordinating Officer Louis H. Botta.
"Meeting housing needs for storm victims is our top priority and this is just the beginning," Botta said. "Many more applications are being processed and damage inspections are underway."
On April 10, President Bush declared the three Massachusetts counties a major disaster area. The declaration made residents and business owners in those counties eligible to apply for various disaster assistance programs.
The FEMA disaster housing program provides several types of assistance. Homeowners or renters whose residences were destroyed or suffered major damage may be eligible for rental assistance to help pay for a place to live until permanent housing can be found or repairs made. Grants for essential home repairs also are available to homeowners for basic repairs not covered by insurance to make the home livable. Examples of essential repairs may include those to electrical, plumbing, and heating systems, as well as general carpentry to make a home safe and secure.
Those who sustained damage to their residence or business because of the severe storms and flooding starting on March 5 and continuing should apply for disaster assistance by calling toll-free 1-800-462-9029. Hearing- or speech-impaired applicants may call TTY: 1-800-462-7585. Hours to call are daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.