Kokomo, IN - Although more than $25 million in disaster grants and low-interest loans has already been approved for thousands of residents throughout Indiana, assistance is still available for eligible losses for those who suffered damages in the three counties recently added to the declaration. The assistance already approved for disaster victims in the 40 previously declared counties will not reduce the amounts available for severe storm and flooding victims in Lake, Porter and Vanderburgh counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Indiana State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for those affected by the devastating weather events that occurred between July 4 and August 6. More than 5,500 Indiana residents have already applied for disaster assistance. September 9 is the deadline to apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment.
"Don't hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need," Thomas J. Costello, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, said. "The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the disaster-affected areas who have eligible losses."
Residents are encouraged to apply for disaster assistance programs, which may include housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
"Don't prejudge your eligibility," Patrick R. Ralston, SEMA's state coordinating officer, said. "We don't want to miss anyone affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding who may need help to begin the recovery process. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance."
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call to apply.
The application process is easy, efficient and begins with a single phone call to FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment can apply by calling the toll-free number TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice, and multilingual operators are also available to answer your call.
After people have called the toll-free number to apply, they can visit a temporary FEMA/SEMA Disaster Recovery Center. The short-term centers opened Thursday in Crown Point and Evansville for disaster victims to meet face-to-face with disaster recovery specialists and get their questions answered about disaster assistance.
The Crown Point office will operate August 21 - 27 (Closed on Sunday, Aug. 24) and is located at Lake County Emergency Management Agency at 2900 West 93rd Avenue. The Evansville office will be open August 21 - 23 and is located at the American Red Cross Building, 113 East Diamond Avenue. The centers are open 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the Nationa...