Springfield, Il -- To help meet the ongoing needs of Illinois disaster victims, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are opening four Disaster Recovery Centers on Wednesday, May 29, in Fairview Heights, Mt. Vernon, Marion and Dongola.
The centers provide a single location where people are able to talk face-to-face with recovery, restoration and rebuilding specialists. Representatives from local, state and federal agencies, and some private-sector organizations, will staff the joint FEMA and IEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.
The centers are scheduled to open Wednesday, May 29, and close Saturday, June 1. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations:
- Fairview Heights Fire Station, 10045 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights
- Old Grade School, Old Cafeteria, 1901 Perkins, Mt. Vernon
- Williamson County ESDA Office, IL Route 148, Marion
- Dongola Fire Department, U.S. Route 51, Dongola
"At this time in the recovery process, people are beginning to think about putting their lives back together," Robert Colangelo, federal coordinating officer, said. "Right now people want information about the status of their applications for assistance or help filling out their disaster loan application. They want to know what their options for rebuilding are, so they don't have to face the same disaster problems when severe storms, tornadoes and flooding happens again.
"The recovery centers are community-oriented and address ongoing needs of people from areas affected by the recent storms. People have been forced to make major decisions in their lives and the centers will serve as resources to help them with those decisions," Mike Chamness, state coordinating officer, said.
Some of the things people can accomplish at the centers include:
- Inquiring about the status of the application they have already made by phone;
- Referrals for temporary rental assistance resources;
- Assistance completing U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loan applications for homeowners, renters or business owners;
- Examining options for repairing or rebuilding in floodplains;
- Learn common-sense measures to reduce the impact of future flooding or disaster losses;
- Receive information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance;
- Receive state and federal disaster tax assistance;
- Referrals to local agencies that provide crisis counseling
- Receive information about the Individual and Family Grant Program;
- Receive referrals to American Red Cross and other voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs
"These centers will be open for four days," Chamness said. "We encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about mitigation methods to minimize future damage, or to have questions answered about their application."
The first step in receiving state and federal assistance made available under the May 21 Presidential disaster declaration is to apply by calling the toll-free application number, 1 800 621-FEMA (3362). There is also a special number, TTY 1 800 462-7585, for the speech or hearing impaired. Both lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.