Harrisburg, PA -- More than just loans are available to homeowners and renters in 11 Pennsylvania counties recently designated eligible for Individual Assistance, according to state and local disaster recovery officials. Individuals and families that sustained losses in the severe storms and flooding between July 21 and Sept. 12 also may qualify for grants for repairing or replacing losses, even if the work has already been completed.
The first step to receiving disaster aid is to register and the deadline is only about two weeks away," said David M. Sanko, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. "You must register by Nov. 18, 2003 to be considered for disaster aid.
"If you have receipts for disaster-related purchases or work already completed, you may qualify for reimbursement," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)"
If you received a loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), complete the form and return it even if you do not intend to take the loan, Davies said.
"If the SBA, after reviewing your application, determines that you cannot afford a loan, you may qualify for Other Needs Assistance. Both the housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance are grants that are not repaid," Davies said.
Eligible for assistance are homeowners and renters in Blair, Crawford, Lackawanna,
Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Tioga, Venango, Warren and Wayne counties
The registration number is 1-800-621-3362. The hearing- or speech-impaired with TTY equipment should call 1-800-462-7585.
People who have already registered and have questions about the status of their applications can call FEMA's Helpline, also at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585). The hours for both are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
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 National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.