Miami, FL -- Federal and state officials announce that more than $4 million 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 2,800 residents have registered for disaster assistance since President George W. Bush's April 25 declaration.
- Approved disaster housing funds total more than $1.1 million and will be used for temporary housing and minor home repairs. More than $2.7 million has been approved for other disaster-related expenses and are in the process of being distributed.
- More than 1,900 housing inspections have been completed.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued more than 750 applications and approved more than $280,000 in low-interest disaster loans for repairing or replacing damaged property. SBA urges those who have received packets in the mail to complete the packets and return them to SBA. Completing the packet is necessary to be eligible for other forms of assistance. If you need assistance in filling out the SBA packets, you can visit the Disaster Recovery Center where SBA representatives will assist you.
- 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 help with the needs of those affected by the disaster.
- Legal assistance is also available for disaster victims to assist with disaster-related issues such as lease or insurance problems. This free service is provided by the Legal Services of Greater Miami and those who need help can call 305-576-0080
- To further help individuals and businesses affected by the March 27 severe storms and tornadoes, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the Caleb Center, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. (3 rd floor), Liberty City.
Center hours are as follows:
Mon. - Fri. (May 5-9) 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays (beginning May 10) 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sundays (beginning May 11) closed
Mon. - Fri. (beginning May 12) 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
DRC visitors can get information on disaster programs or check on the status of their application. Thus far, more than 400 people have visited the center for information.
Individuals affected by this disaster 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 to apply is June 24, 2003.
While most assistance offered under government programs covers b...