OWATONNA -- In the weeks since the disaster declaration of October 7, a total of $3,060,323 in grants has been approved to assist those who suffered flood damage in southeastern Minnesota, according to figures released today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).
Local, state and federal recovery officials and voluntary organizations have combined efforts to assist victims of the severe storms and flooding in putting their lives back together. This is a summary of recovery activities as of close of business October 31:
- 1,360 individuals from the five designated counties of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower and Steele have called to apply for assistance
- 884 applications have been approved for Disaster Housing Assistance grants, totaling $2,335,110 – for repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe, sanitary and functional condition and for temporary disaster rental assistance (see county-by-county breakdown attached)
- 412 applications have been approved for Other Needs Assistance grants, totaling $725,213 – for medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation and other eligible expenses
- 1,245 applications for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans have been issued – for homeowners, renters and businesses of any size
- 623 people have visited Disaster Recovery Centers. The last two centers, in Albert Lea and Austin closed October 30 at 5:00 pm.
Call to apply. Anyone who suffered damage as a result of the severe storms and flooding that occurred September 14 to September 27, should apply for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free application number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for those with hearing or speech impairment. Both numbers are available 8am-6pm, seven days a week until further notice.
Even if you live in a county not currently designated for disaster assistance, you may call the toll-free numbers to report your damages. Information on disaster damages is still being gathered in areas affected by September’s severe weather. If the county you live in is added to the disaster declaration at a later date, you may be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance at that time.
On November 1, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) opened a Loan Assistance Center in Austin. Residents and business owners may visit the center to learn more about their application and receive help completing their application from SBA loan officers. Most applicants receive SBA loan applications and are strongly encouraged to complete the application, even if they do not plan to accept an SBA loan. The information provided will help determine eligibility for additional grants or assistance. The Center is located at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 2100 16th St. SW, Austin. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to eligible workers and self-employed individuals in Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower and Steele counties who have lost work due to recent flooding. DUA provides temporary income assistance to workers and self-employed individuals for weeks of work lost or interrupted as a direct result of the recent flooding. Applications for these benefits may be filed by calling the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development at 1-877-504-5050. Applications must be postmarked by November 10, 2004.
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 i...