OTTAWA, Ill. -- To help meet the ongoing needs of Illinois tornado victims, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are opening Disaster Recovery Centers on Wednesday, April 28, in Granville, Joliet and Utica. These centers provide a single location where people are able to talk face-to-face with recovery specialists.
The first step in receiving state and federal assistance made available under the April 23rd Presidential disaster declaration is to register by calling the toll-free FEMA application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). There is also a special number, TTY 1-800-462-7585, for those with speech or hearing impairment. Both lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice, and multilingual operators are available to take your call.
Representatives from local, state and federal agencies, and some private-sector organizations, will staff the joint FEMA and IEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. The centers are scheduled to open Wednesday, April 28, at the following locations:
- American Legion Hall
209 N. McCoy Street
- Bicentennial Park
201 West Jefferson
- Waltham Elementary School, Room 105
248 West Canal Street
* Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday
“At this time in the recovery process, people are beginning to think about putting their lives back together,” Lee Champagne, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer, said. “Right now people want information about the status of their application for assistance or help filling out their disaster loan application. They want to know what their options for rebuilding are, so they don’t have to face the same disaster problems when severe storms and tornadoes happen again.”
Some of the things people can accomplish at the centers include:
- Inquiring about the status of the application they have already made by phone;
- Assistance completing U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loan applications for homeowners, renters or business owners;
- Obtaining referral information about local permitting;
- Examining options for repairing or rebuilding in floodplains;
- Learn cost effective measures to reduce the impact of future disaster losses;
- Receive information and detailed plans on how to construct a saferoom;
- Receive information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance;
- Receive state and federal disaster tax assistance;
- Referrals to local agencies that provide crisis counseling;
- Receive referrals to American Red Cross and other voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs
“Visitors to the Disaster Recovery Centers can learn what their options are for repairing or rebuilding so they don’t have to face the same problems when severe storms and tornadoes strike again,” William C. Burke, IEMA state coordinating officer, said. “Information provided at these centers is not only useful to those who suffered damages from the recent tornadoes but anyone in the area can visit a center and find out what they can do to avoid future damages from severe storms and tornadoes.”
Individuals who are unable to visit the centers and have questions about disaster assistance, rebuilding or preventive measures to avoid future damages are urged to call the same numbers and select the option for “General Information.&rdquo...