INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In less than six weeks after President Bush declared areas of Indiana eligible for federal disaster assistance, more than $15.5 million in grants and low-interest loans has been approved for disaster victims, say officials from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).
The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 5. For individuals who have already applied, their cases will continue to be processed, but no new telephone or online applications will be accepted after the deadline.
The following is a summary of disaster recovery activities, as of close of business Nov. 15.
A total of 5,380 Indiana residents have applied for federal disaster assistance in the three disaster designated counties - 4,498 in Lake, 851 in Vanderburgh and 31 in Warrick counties.
A total of $9,056,440 in Housing Assistance grants has been approved -- including $7,594,039 (2,694 approved claims) in Lake, $1,418,334 (524) in Vanderburgh, and $44,066 (23) in Warrick. Disaster housing assistance comes in the form of grants for temporary housing needs and for homeowners to make essential repairs.
A total of $768,387 in Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants has been approved - including $690,451 (850 approved claims) in Lake , $76,234 (109) in Vanderburgh, and $1,700 (2) in Warrick Counties. 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 (SBA) has approved 241 low-interest disaster loans, totaling $5,747,200 (239 home and 2 businesses) - including $4,604,500 (189 approved for home loans) and $111,700 (2 approved for business loans) in Lake and $1,031,000 (50 for home) in Vanderburgh Counties. No disaster loans have been approved as yet in Warrick County .
The SBA has issued 3,770 applications to homeowners and renters and 357 to businesses, but only approximately 15 per cent of those applications have been completed and returned.
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 to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
- Disaster Recovery Centers in the affected areas have served nearly 1,700 residents, providing information about disaster assistance, Internal Revenue Service (tax) issues, mental health counseling, ways to reduce damages from future storms, and assistance completing SBA disaster loan applications.
The first step in applying for disaster assistance is to contact FEMA by logging on to www.fema.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with a speech or hearing impairment. Both lines are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and multilingual operators are available to assist applicants. After applying, to ask questions about the status of an application or receive additional assistance, disaster victims should call the FEMA Helpline at the same toll-free numbers.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation a...