BEVERLY, Mass. -- Three weeks into the recovery effort, $1.6 million in state and federal disaster aid has been approved to help Massachusetts residents who suffered flood-related losses as a result of the April flooding, according to recovery officials.
Thus far, 60 percent of the homeowners and renters who have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register for assistance are from hardest-hit Essex County, while another 30 percent are located in Middlesex. Applicants in the other three designated counties (Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcester) accounted for the remaining applications.
"Using streamlined processing and improved technology to speed aid, we've been able to disburse 98 percent of approved home repair grants to individuals and families within five days of applicant registration," said State Coordinating Officer Cristine McCombs, acting director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
"Still, we know there are people out there with flood-related losses who have not yet applied for help," Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo said. "These individuals are encouraged to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and begin the registration process without delay."
Residents and business owners with flood-related losses can do this by calling, toll free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. Registrars are available to take applications from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday until further notice.
The following is a summary of ongoing recovery efforts, close of business, May 13:
To date, 1,227 applicants from the five designated counties (Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcester) have applied for state/federal disaster assistance. During the past week, registrars report a steady stream of approximately 50 applicants per day.
Of these applicants, 86 percent have been approved for Individuals and Households Program (IHP) grants that total $1,601,529.
Housing Assistance of $1,487,903 has been approved for 873 individuals and families for essential home repairs and temporary housing. These grants are 100 percent funded by FEMA.
- Other Needs Assistance of $113,627 has been approved for 262 residents to help meet serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other programs. Examples include personal property replacement, along with moving and storage, transportation and other necessary expenses. These grants are 75 percent funded by FEMA and 25 percent by the commonwealth.
- Housing Assistance of $1,487,903 has been approved for 873 individuals and families for essential home repairs and temporary housing. These grants are 100 percent funded by FEMA.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued low-interest loan applications to 965 individuals and to 98 businesses affected by the flooding; to date, 56 have been returned and are being processed. The SBA will continue to accept loan applications until the June 21, 2004, filing deadline.
Thus far, FEMA inspectors have completed 1,057 inspections of damaged property, 94 percent of those that have been issued. Most were completed within two days of initial registration.
- Community Relations outreach teams continue to work with local officials and organizations in the declared counties to inform residents and businesses about available state/federal disaster assistance programs. The teams also go door-to-door, encouraging those with damages to apply for assistance.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing miss...