COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In just three weeks since President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for Ohio, more than $1 million in grants and low-interest loans has been approved to assist nearly 350 residents who suffered damages from the January severe storms and flooding,
Already $685,234 in Housing Assistance grants and $194,719 in Other Needs Assistance grants have been approved, along with $145,100 in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans, according to figures released today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA).
Disaster recovery officials urge anyone who suffered damage or loss in the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that occurred between January 3-30 to apply for assistance by calling the toll-free application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) The number for those with speech or hearing impairment is TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice. The last day to apply for assistance is March 26.
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.
The SBA provides low-interest loans to help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations fund repairs and rebuilding efforts as well as help cover the cost of replacing lost or damaged personal property. Many Ohioans who applied to FEMA for disaster assistance may receive a low-interest disaster loan application package from the SBA. A low-interest loan from the SBA is the primary source of long-term recovery assistance from the federal government. If the SBA cannot approve a loan application, victims may be referred to additional assistance programs, including grant programs. For that reason, the loan application should be returned, the sooner the better.
SBA representatives will be available to help applicants fill out loan applications in Grove City at the Jackson Township Fire Department, 3650 Hoover Road, Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. This office will cease operation at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19.
A two-day FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center has been established in Belmont County for interested persons to get disaster assistance information and receive help in completing their SBA loan applications. They can also talk with mitigation specialists and receive information on low-cost ways to reduce future disaster damages. The Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Belmont County Engineer’s Garage, 45741 Roscoe Road, St. Clairsville, and will be open Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 18 and 19, 9 a.m. to 6 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 the Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.
The Ohio EMA coordinates State assistance and resources during an emergency...