COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Flood victims in 21 disaster-declared Ohio counties do not need to be concerned that their applications for assistance will reduce the amounts available for their neighbors or others devastated by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, OEMA) and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for flood victims, who suffered damages between August 27 and September 27.
“Don’t hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need,” Lee Champagne, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer, said. “The federal government has already approved over $23 million in grants and low-interest loans for thousands of applicants in the affected areas.”
Less than one month remains for disaster victims to call and apply for assistance before the November 18 deadline for Individual Assistance. The assistance may continue after that date, but individuals must call and apply by the deadline to have their application considered.
“There is enough help to go around for all who are eligible,” said Dale Shipley, executive director of Ohio EMA and state coordinating officer in the disaster recovery efforts. “The amounts distributed to one individual will in no way affect what disaster assistance is available to your neighbor or other citizens of Ohio.”
Individuals can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Individuals with Internet access now have the option to register on the agency’s website at , where valuable recovery information is also available.
Residents may be eligible to apply for a wide variety of programs, such as funding for temporary disaster housing assistance, replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs including disaster unemployment assistance. In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses to repair or replace damaged property resulting from the disaster.
“Don’t prejudge your eligibility,” Shipley said. “We don’t want to miss anyone affected by the floods who may need help to begin the recovery process. This is not welfare, but tax dollars that have been set aside specifically for disaster assistance.”
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call to apply.
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.