Tazewell, VA -- Disaster recovery officials said that 324 county residents have registered for some form of federal/state disaster assistance in the first 10 days since President Bush issued a disaster declaration on July 12. The presidential declaration enables Tazewell county residents and business owners hit by severe flooding during July 8-10 to be eligible for a wide variety of federal and state individual assistance programs.
The following is a summary of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Virginia Department of Emergency Management programs available to provide help to flood-stricken individuals, families and businesses:
- Grants for rental payments to provide emergency temporary housing for flood survivors whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance is provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least two months for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
- Grants for minimal repairs are available to qualified homeowners who need to make damaged homes habitable. These grants are only for needed repairs not covered by insurance.
- Grants to help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation, essential home repairs, essential personal property repair or replacement, and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. Contents of refrigerators and freezers are not covered.
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits. This group includes self-employed individuals.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans are available up to $200,000 for primary residence: $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $1.5 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
- Loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $1.5 million.
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster and a federal income tax break to allow for year 2000 amended returns for flood victims with a casualty loss.
Affected individuals, families and business owners in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-462-9029, (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EDT) seven days a week until further notice. Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, social security number, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.
After registration, flood survivors have the option to visit the Tazewell Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), at 607 Market Street to talk to recovery specialists about any disaster programs. A visit to the center is not required to obtain assistance. Similar program information and application assistance is available through the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321, (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. In addition, mobile DRCs will be making stops in Bluefield on July 27-28, Pocahontas, on July 29, and Bishop on July 30 to answer questions and provide program assistance by calling (202) 646-FEMA.