Findlay, Ohio -- Tornado victims in Fostoria, Port Clinton and Van Wert have a few more days to visit the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in their communities. Disaster officials announced today the DRCs are transitioning at the close of business on Tuesday to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) workshops, opening Wednesday, with one change in location.
At this stage of the recovery process, the emphasis for assistance has shifted to low-interest loans to meet the long-term needs of victims. To assist people in filling out their loan applications the SBA will continue to provide loan officers in Port Clinton at the Ottawa County Courthouse Annex, 315 Madison St. and in Van Wert at Anthony Wayne School, 641 N. Jefferson St. In Seneca County, the location will be changed from Fostoria to Tiffin at the Seneca County Public Safety Building, 126 Hopewell Avenue.
The hours of operation for the SBA Workshops are: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting Wednesday, December 4. FEMA representatives will also be on hand at the workshops to answer any questions about disaster assistance programs.
"These temporary centers offer applicants a chance to talk with recovery specialists in person," Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) State Coordinating Officer Dale Shipley said. "But applicants who have questions on the disaster assistance process or their applications can also get information by calling the toll-free registration line 1-800-621-3362, or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired."
Nearly 200 homeowners, renters and business owners have visited one of the DRCs. The temporary centers were established to provide detailed program information to those who have already applied for assistance. In addition to FEMA Human Services personnel and SBA loan officers, disaster recovery specialists staff the centers to answer questions and provide information on recovery, restoration and rebuilding.
"People visiting the centers have had the opportunity to learn about techniques to rebuild stronger," FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Ron Sherman said. "Hazard mitigation specialists will continue to be on hand for the next few days at the DRCs to discuss building and repair techniques to make homes and commercial structures more wind and tornado resilient."
Residents who suffered damage from the November 10 tornadoes and severe storms can register for assistance by calling the FEMA toll-free application number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). There is also a special toll-free number for the speech or hearing impaired, (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
These same numbers may also be used for applicants to check on the status of their application or to update claim information, without going to one of the Disaster Recovery Centers. SBA also has a toll-free number applicants can call to check on their low-interest loan applications, 1-800-359-2227, Monday through Friday.