Indianapolis, IN -- In less than one week since the application process began for disaster assistance in the 34 disaster declared counties of Indiana, $1,893,980 in disaster assistance grants and $162,800 in low-interest disaster loans have been approved to assist those affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began July 4, state and federal officials announced today.
"We're committed to providing disaster assistance as quickly as possible and this assistance is an important first step in the recovery process," Thomas J. Costello, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) federal coordinating officer, said. "We will continue to work with our state, local and volunteer partners to help meet the needs of those who were affected by the July severe weather."
Already, $1,499,228 in Housing Assistance grants and $394,752 in Other Needs Assistance grants have been approved since the application process began on July 11. A total of 1,892 individuals and small business owners from the disaster-designated counties have applied for disaster assistance programs as of close of business Wednesday, July 16.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has already presented checks, representing loans approved for $162,800, to the first families approved for low-interest disaster loans. The SBA has issued 1,067 loan applications to homeowners and renters and 173 to business owners.
"This early in the recovery process our concern is for people's housing needs," Patrick R. Ralston, Indiana State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) state coordinating officer, said. "Our top priority is getting people into safe and sanitary living quarters so they can continue on with their lives."
Disaster housing assistance comes in the form of grants for temporary housing needs and for homeowners to make essential repairs. This assistance serves as an interim solution to people's housing needs until long-term solutions are addressed, typically through insurance or loans.
Other Needs Assistance provides for uninsured or under-insured disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs, which may include grants for medical, dental, personal property, transportation and other expenses that FEMA approves.
Persons in the declared counties who suffered damage or loss to a home or business in the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began July 4 are encouraged to apply for assistance by calling a toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment should call, TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both phone lines are open 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, until further notice.