Beckley, WV -- To date, disaster recovery officials have approved $20.8 million in grants and loans for those affected in May by severe storms, flooding and landslides in West Virginia. They expect these figures to climb as the recovery operation continues. The deadline to apply for state and federal assistance is July 5.
As of Monday, June 17, a total of 5,619 individuals had registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state for disaster assistance. Of these, FEMA has received 5,045 applicants for the temporary Disaster Housing Assistance program. This program provides grants to disaster victims to make their home habitable or to rent alternate accommodations until a more permanent solution is found.
To date, FEMA has approved 4,847 Disaster Housing Assistance grants totaling $8,529,602; the state has approved 794 IFG grants totaling $2,375,376; and the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $5.2 million in low-interest disaster-assistance loans to 240 individuals and business owners; in addition FEMA has obligated $4.7 million in assistance to restore public infrastructure damaged by the disaster.
"We have received 3,420 applicants for the Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG)," said Steve Kappa, director of the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services. "The IFG program provides grants to individuals or families for serious disaster related needs not covered by other disaster assistance programs."
"When a person registers for disaster assistance, the agency determines what assistance we may be able to provide," said FEMA's Justo Hernandez, Kappa's federal counterpart appointed by President Bush to coordinate the federal recovery efforts. "FEMA then sends out a contract inspector who makes an appointment with the applicant to verify damages. When appropriate, we follow with grants to allow eligible applicants to make needed repairs or rent someplace else. Sometimes we're able to provide a trailer or a mobile home."
Six counties - Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming - are eligible for assistance to individuals and families following President Bush's major disaster declaration for West Virginia on May 5.
Those needing assistance should call FEMA, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Persons with difficulty hearing or speaking can call TTY at 1-800-462-7585.