COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Only two weeks remain for Ohioans who have not yet applied for federal and state disaster assistance.
“We will continue to process assistance applications, but the deadline to call and apply is August 2,” said Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Individuals and business owners affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred May 18 through June 21 can apply by calling the FEMA toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairment. Both numbers are operational from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“Don’t assume you aren’t eligible for assistance,” said Dale W. Shipley, state coordinating officer and executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “We don’t want to miss anyone who has been affected by this disaster who may need help in the recovery.”
Even if you have insurance, you may still be eligible for disaster assistance for under-insured losses. But to complete an application, FEMA will need information about the resident’s insurance settlement to avoid any duplication of benefits.
After applying, registrants may receive a loan application package from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Whether interested in a loan or not, applicants must at least complete the loan package and return it by the August 2 deadline to be considered for any possible additional grants from FEMA and the state to meet other needs.
Applications may be updated and will continue to be processed after the August 2 deadline. Helpline representatives (at the numbers listed above) are available to update applications, answer questions about assistance or check the status of an application. Multilingual representatives are available if needed.
Assistance available to disaster victims includes grants for temporary disaster housing; for repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe and sanitary living condition, and for serious, disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs; and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property.
The disaster-designated counties are Athens, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Noble, Perry, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas.
The Ohio EMA coordinates State assistance and resources during an emergency and prepares the state for all hazards through planning, training, exercises and funding activities at the state and local level. This includes providing assistance to individuals and administering state and federal assistance to individuals and governmental entities recovering from disaster-related damage and costs. Ohio EMA coordinates homeland security funding, weapons of mass destruction training, anti-terrorism planning and training, and assists local and state agencies determine homeland strategies and priorities.
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.