LEBANON, Va. -- One month after four southwest Virginia counties were declared federal disaster areas, recovery assistance approved to help renters, homeowners and businesses with disaster related damages has reached more than $1.4 million, state and federal recovery officials said today.
The deadline to register for disaster assistance is August 16, 2004.
Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said, “FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration and Commonwealth of Virginia funding for disaster recovery now amounts to $1,409,507.”
So those affected may obtain temporary housing, FEMA provides grants to the uninsured that should not or cannot live in their disaster-damaged dwelling. To date, grants totaling $1,019,386 have been approved for 573 households. The grants are tax free and do not have to be reported as income.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved low interest disaster loans totaling $267,700 to date. SBA low interest disaster loans are available to qualified renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes.
Those who do not qualify for an SBA disaster loan may be referred to the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program. ONA provides grants to help with serious unmet needs such as damaged personal property, transportation and disaster related medical, dental or funeral expenses. To date, 48 households have been approved for $122,421 in ONA grants. The grants are tax free and do not have to be recorded as income.
On June 21, FEMA and the state opened a Disaster Recovery Center at the Police Department Building in Richlands. It closed Saturday, July 10. During the 19 days the center was open, it was visited by 348 residents.
Renters, homeowners and businesses in Buchanan, Tazewell, Russell, and Lee counties are eligible to register for federal and state disaster assistance under President Bush’s June 15 disaster declaration. To date, 877 households from the four 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., Monday to Friday until further notice.
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 mitigation activities, trains first responders and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.