INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Just two weeks after President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for two Indiana counties, nearly 2,000 grants totaling $3.8 million have been issued, either by check or direct deposit, federal and state recovery officials announced today.
"We're committed to providing disaster assistance as quickly as possible, and this assistance is an important step in the recovery process," said Larry Sommers, federal coordinating officer in Indiana for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "This may just be the first type of assistance that an individual may be eligible to receive."
To date, approximately 1,914 assistance applications have been processed and $3,852,378 in assistance grant money has been disbursed to eligible applicants in Vanderburgh and Lake counties who suffered damage or loss in the severe storms and flooding occurring Sept. 12 through 14. Disaster housing assistance comes in the form of grants for temporary housing needs and for homeowners to make essential repairs. This assistance serves as an interim solution for people's housing needs until long-term solutions are addressed, typically through insurance or low-interest disaster loans.
"At this point in the recovery process our concern is for people's housing needs," said Eric Dietz, state coordinating officer and executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS). "Our top priority is getting people into safe and sanitary housing so they can get beyond this disaster."
The following is a snapshot of disaster recovery operations, as of close of business Oct. 19:
A total of 2,926 Lake and Vanderburgh county residents have registered for federal disaster assistance.
Under the Individuals and Households Program, $3,799,123 in housing grants and $255,841 in Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants have already been approved. (ONA provides for uninsured or under-insured disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs, which may include grants for medical, dental, personal property, transportation and other expenses that FEMA approves.)
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued 2,107 low-interest disaster loan applications, including 1,940 to homeowners and renters and 167 to businesses
So far, 2,279 inspections have been completed by trained housing inspectors.
Teams of Community Relations personnel from FEMA and IDHS have been visiting affected communities to inform victims of available assistance and to identify any unmet needs.
Call to Apply
There are two easy ways to begin the application process. Call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 (for those with a speech or hearing impairment). Both numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to answer calls. Residents with Internet access may register on the agency's Web site at www.fema.gov where valuable recovery information is also available.
Residents and business owners who previously registered with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and any another voluntary agency or who have reported damage to county or local officials need to apply for federal and state assistance programs by calling FEMA's toll-free number or registering online.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must complete and return them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and s...