RICHMOND, Va. -- Federal, state and voluntary agencies are continuing to work together to help Virginia residents recover from the effects of Tropical Depression Gaston. So far, a total of $8.7 million in disaster assistance grants and loans has been approved for victims of the storm since the September 3 presidential declaration. The declaration covers 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 summary of activities for the period ending October 7, 2004:
- In the five weeks since President Bush issued the major disaster declaration, 4,552 homeowners, renters and businesses have registered for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free number. Registration clears the way for a variety of grant and loan programs to cover uninsured losses for individuals, and low-interest loans for businesses.
- FEMA and Virginia have approved $6,531,385 to pay for temporary housing, basic home repairs and essential needs. The funds include $4,574,715 for Housing Assistance and $1,956,670 to cover other needs.
- To date, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued 3,210 disaster loan applications and approved more than $2,194,000 in low interest loans. 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.
- 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 24 hours a day, 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.