EVERETT, Wash. -- Residents and business owners in the 15 disaster declared counties who sustained damage from the severe storms and flooding of October 15 - 23 have one month remaining to apply for disaster assistance. January 6, 2003 is the last day applications will be accepted. That is also the deadline for submitting loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related losses to real and personal property.
"We want people to understand that this is merely an application deadline," said Anthony Russell, federal coordinating officer. "For individuals who have already applied, their cases will continue to be processed; however, we will not be accepting new applications."
Federal and state disaster recovery officials urge those who have not done so to apply as soon as possible by calling the toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may call the TTY registration number at 1-800-462-7585. Registration phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice.
"Applicants may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs," said Diane Offord, state coordinating officer for the disaster, "such as temporary housing assistance, grants to meet disaster-related needs and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes."
To date, 1127 individuals have applied for disaster assistance in the state. More than $1.8 million dollars has been distributed to individuals impacted by the disaster. The SBA has also approved nearly $900,000 in disaster loans to individuals and businesses that suffered damages due to the flooding.
The 15 counties that received the presidential disaster declaration are Chelan, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Okanogan, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.