Beckley, WV -- Individuals and families could be eligible for temporary disaster-housing assistance if their homes were damaged or destroyed by the May severe storms, flooding and landslides, but time to apply is running out.
According to Steve Kappa, director of the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services, Friday, July 5, is the last day to register for assistance. Those needing help must apply by 6 p.m. on or before that date.
"Our top priority is to make sure that everyone is in safe and secure housing -- livable housing," Kappa said. "The disaster-housing program is designed to provide assistance to those whose homes were made unlivable by the disaster. In many cases, we may be able to provide a travel trailer or a mobile home."
Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the temporary disaster-housing program provides two types of assistance. Rental assistance is available to owners or tenants whose homes are unlivable so they can have a place to live while repairs are being made. Grants to homeowners for emergency repairs also are available to make residences habitable until more extensive repairs can be made. Examples of emergency work include essential repairs to electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems, as well as general carpentry.
"These grants, funds which do not have to be paid back, are not intended to restore a home fully to its pre-disaster condition but can supplement repairs not covered by insurance," FEMA's Justo Hernandez said. Hernandez is Kappa's federal partner, appointed by President Bush to head the federal portion of the disaster recovery effort in West Virginia.
"To qualify for a home-repair grant, the applicant must be the owner, and the home must be the primary residence," Kappa added.
Housing assistance is one of the programs available to West Virginia residents in Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming counties as a result of the disaster declaration issued by President Bush following the flooding and landslides of early May.
Anyone who sustained damage or losses from the disaster in a disaster-declared county may register for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Persons with difficulty hearing or speaking may call TTY at 1-800-462-7585.