Lynchburg, VA -- Disaster-affected residents who called FEMA's hotline or registered at a recovery center are receiving aid to help with emergency housing and business expenses.
As of Tuesday, April 8, FEMA had sent out checks for approximately $328,900 in housing assistance. The U.S. Small Business Administration had approved eight low-interest loans to homeowners for approximately $135,000. SBA had issued approximately 180 loan applications from homeowners and 16 from businesses in the nine southwestern Virginia areas declared eligible for disaster assistance.
President Bush issued a disaster declaration for 22 localities in northern and southwestern Virginia on March 27 as a result of severe winter storms and flooding in February. FEMA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management are continuing to assess storm-related damage.
FEMA disaster aid is intended to help residents, homeowners or tenants with storm-related expenses, including temporary relocation and repairs to restore dwellings to basic habitability. Also, SBA low-interest loans can help restore homes or businesses. Federal assistance begins with a call to FEMA's toll-free line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with hearing or speech impairments can call TTY at 1-800-462-7585.
"We encourage people with any questions about their eligibility to call the FEMA teleregistration number," said Michael Cline, who heads the recovery effort for the state.
FEMA has also opened two Disaster Recovery Centers to provide information to disaster victims. These centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. They are located in:
- Salem, 210 Riverland Drive (the Virginia Department of Forestry building behind the Shanghai Restaurant).
- Grundy, Buchanan County, inside the Buchanan County Courthouse on Route 460 (Main Street).
FEMA disaster assistance is separate from, and does not affect, any other federal assistance applicants may be receiving.
"We want to reach every single person who suffered storm-related losses," said Justo Hernandez, federal coordinating officer.