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 $10.5 million in disaster assistance grants and loans has been approved for victims of the storm since the September 3 presidential declaration. Here is a summary of activities for the period ending October 21, 2004:
- In the seven weeks since President Bush issued the disaster declaration, 4,969 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 $7,410,441 to pay for temporary housing, basic home repairs and essential needs. The funds include $5,207,350 for Housing Assistance and $2,203,091 to cover other needs.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has sent out 3,590 disaster loan applications and approved more than $3,169,800 in low interest loans, which serve as the government’s primary form of long-term recovery assistance. Those individuals who do not qualify for a loan may be considered for a grant to cover serious unmet disaster-related needs, but only after completing the SBA loan application.
- All 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. They also may apply on-line at www.fema.gov. The registration period ends Nov. 2.
The September 3 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.
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.