Miami, FL -- Federal and state officials announce that more than $2 million dollars has been approved to assist those affected by the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred on March 27 in Miami-Dade County. Current disaster information is as follows:
- More than 1,100 residents have registered for disaster assistance since President George W. Bush's April 25 declaration.
- The first group of disaster housing checks have been mailed-totaling more than $600,000-to assist with temporary housing and minor home repairs. More than $1.4 million dollars has been approved for other disaster-related expenses and are in the process of being distributed.
- More than 1,500 housing inspections have been completed with 18 inspectors assessing damage.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued more than 400 applications and approved more than $75,000 in low-interest disaster loans for repairing or replacing damaged property.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available through the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. Applications may be filed by internet at www.fluidnow.com or by calling
1-800-681-8102 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The deadline for filing an application is June 1, 2003.
- Consumers can report disaster-related fraud by calling the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-helpfla (1-800-fl-ayuda for Spanish-speaking individuals). Fraud can also be reported to the Florida Attorney General's fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226 and price gouging incidents may be reported to the hotline at 1-800-646-0444.
- Those who have unmet disaster needs can call Team Metro at 305-468-5900. Team Metro will refer individuals to the appropriate agency to assist them with these needs. Other voluntary agencies continue to identify and assist with the needs of those affected by the disaster.
- To further help individuals and businesses affected by the March 27 severe storms and tornadoes, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have opened a Disaster Recovery Center at the Caleb Center, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. (3 rd floor), Liberty City. Center hours are from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Those who visit the center can get information on disaster programs or check on the status of their application. Thus far, nearly 200 people have visited the center for information.
Individuals affected by the severe storms and tornadoes of March 27 may still register for disaster assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing- impaired. The deadline for applying for assistance is June 24, 2003.
While most assistance offered under government programs covers basic needs only and will not compensate individuals for their entire loss, disaster recovery programs can give a helping hand to those in need on the road to recovery.