The SBA workshop, located at the Waltham Elementary School, 248 Canal St., in Utica will open Tuesday, June 1, and remain open until Thursday, June 3. The hours of operation will be from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. 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. 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.?
Almost 500 disaster victims and residents have visited one of the three joint DRCs, which were opened just days after President Bush issued a major disaster declaration for the four counties affected by the tornadoes and severe storms. These temporary centers also offered 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 almost 600 low-interest disaster loan applications to renters, homeowners, and business owners, and already approved more than $2.7 million for 75 applicants, including 63 home and 12 business loans. 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 SBA workshop.
In addition to the low-interest loans, almost $400,000 in assistance grants has been approved for applicants in the four disaster-designated counties. This figure includes $232,302 in housing grants, which covers temporary housing assistance and home repairs and replacement, and $157,900 in other needs assistance, which may include grants for medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation and other eligible expenses. More than 660 residents have called to apply for assistance.
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.
The deadline to call and apply for assistance is June 22. To avoid a duplication of benefits, some FEMA applications cannot be completed until the applicant provides a final insurance settlement to determine eligible underinsured or uninsured losses.
Although the Utica 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 bec...