LEBANON, Va. -- Federal disaster assistance approved to temporarily house Southwest Virginians affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes starting May 24, 2004, has reach more than $500,000, commonwealth and federal recovery officials said today.
"FEMA provides grants to the uninsured who should not or cannot live in their disaster damaged dwelling so they can obtain temporary housing," Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said.
To date, grants totaling $506,708 have been approved for 304 households.
The grants are tax free and do not have to be reported as income; thus, there is no impact upon other benefit programs, such as Social Security.
President Bush declared on June 15 that individuals and businesses in Tazewell, Russell and Lee counties were eligible to register for federal and state disaster assistance. To date, 571 households from the three counties have registered.
To register, call FEMA toll free at 1-800-621-3362. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
Once registered, a visit to the Disaster Recovery Center in Richlands may be beneficial. The center is in the Richlands Police Department building (old armory), 1851 Cranwell Drive, Richlands. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 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 National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.