OTTAWA, Ill. -- The Disaster Recovery Center in Joliet will close at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and transition to a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) workshop on Monday, at the same location. SBA representatives will remain at this workshop to provide assistance with low-interest loan applications for homeowners, renters, and business owners affected by the severe April storms and tornadoes.
The SBA workshop, located at Bicentennial Park, 201 West Jefferson Street in Joliet will open Monday, May 17, and remain open until Thursday, May 20. The hours of operation will be from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Human Services representative will also be available to answer questions about disaster assistance.
“This is a normal transition of the temporary disaster recovery locations,” Lee Champagne, FEMA federal coordinating officer, said. “The numbers have been reducing steadily of those applicants with immediate needs visiting the centers and that is usually a good indication that people are receiving the assistance they need.”
Assistance is also available at two additional locations, an SBA workshop in Granville and a Disaster Recovery Center in Utica. The SBA workshop, located in the American Legion Hall at 209 North McCoy Street in Granville will be open Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13 from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
The Disaster Recovery Center in Utica, located at the Waltham Elementary School at 248 West Canal Street will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice. More than 400 people have visited the three centers opened in the disaster-affected areas to receive information on disaster assistance. The temporary centers also offers information to anyone interested in learning how to reduce damages from future disasters.
“At this stage of the recovery process, the emphasis for assistance is to meet the long-term needs of victims,” William Burke, state coordinating officer and director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), said.
SBA has issued more than 500 low-interest disaster loan applications to renters, homeowners, and business owners. Disaster officials pointed out that if you received an SBA loan application it is very important to complete the application and return it as soon as possible, even if you have not received a final settlement from the insurance company. If the loan application is not returned it will delay other forms of disaster assistance. Face-to-face assistance will be available at the two SBA workshops and at the Utica Disaster Recovery Center.
Phone Lines Open Monday through Friday to Take Applications and Answer Questions
Those who suffered damages or loss from the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred April 20th to 23rd can still apply for assistance by calling the FEMA toll-free application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both lines are open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and closed on the weekends.
Although the Joliet Disaster Recovery Center is closing, FEMA officials noted that assistance is still only a phone call away. Applicants may call those same toll-free numbers to check on the status of their application, update applicant information after you receive your insurance settlement, and to receive information about other state and federal disaster assistance programs.
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 al...