Harrisburg, PA --- Disaster victims who have not yet registered for federal/state disaster assistance have only two more weeks to register. Nov. 18, 2003 is the last day for homeowners, renters and businesses in Blair, Crawford, Lackawanna, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Tioga, Venango, Warren and Wayne counties to apply for aid, according to federal and state officials.
Homeowners, renters, and business owners who sustained damage from the severe storms and flooding between July 21 and Sept. 12 are encouraged to apply. Call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-3362 to register. Those with hearing or speech impairments can register by calling TTY 1-800-462-7585. The telephone numbers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
David M. Sanko, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, stressed the importance of registering for assistance. Director Sanko said, "The only way to find out what disaster aid you may be eligible for is to call without delay. This is the first step in getting disaster assistance."
Applicants may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs such as disaster housing assistance, grants to meet serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other programs, and U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. SBA loan applications must be completed and returned to the SBA by Nov. 18. Businesses applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans have until June 21, 2004 to apply.
"Even after the deadline, if you have questions about your application, FEMA will still be just a telephone call away," Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies said. Applicants may reach FEMA's Helpline by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired). Helpline representatives are available to answer questions about the assistance process or the status of applications. Hours of operation also are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
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.