RICHMOND, Va. -- Federal, state and voluntary agencies are working together to help Virginia residents recover from the effects of Tropical Depression Gaston. So far, a total of $7 million in disaster grants and loans has been approved for homeowners, renters and businesses.
President Bush issued a major disaster declaration September 3 that now includes the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond, and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Henrico, King William, New Kent and Prince George.
Here is a cumulative summary of activities for the period ending Sept. 29:
- In all, 3,905 homeowners, renters and businesses have registered for disaster assistance through FEMA’s toll-free number. Registration opens the way to a variety of grant and loan programs to cover uninsured losses for individuals, and low-interest loans for businesses.
- FEMA and Virginia have approved $5,953,245 to pay for temporary housing, basic home repairs and essential needs. The funds include $4,226,562 for Housing Assistance and $1,726,683 for Other Needs Assistance.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued 2,783 disaster loan applications and approved 39 low-interest loans totaling $1,108,000. The SBA is urging individuals and businesses to complete and return their loan packages as soon as possible. SBA disaster loans are the government’s primary form of long-term recovery assistance. If an individual does not qualify for a loan, he or she may be considered for a grant to cover serious unmet disaster-related needs, but only after completing the SBA loan application. SBA representatives are available at local disaster recovery centers to answer questions and help applicants complete their loan packages. Businesses are eligible only for SBA loans.
- All those who sustained damage from Tropical Depression Gaston are encouraged to apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired. Telephone lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
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.