BUFFALO, N.Y. -- State and federal officials announced today that nearly $10.6 million in disaster grants and low-interest disaster loans have been approved to aid residents and business owners of Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties. More than 19,000 residents who suffered losses as a result of the October lake-effect storms have applied for disaster assistance.
The FEMA registration deadline is December 23, 2006. Individuals are urged to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired) to register for assistance as soon as possible.
Following is an update of recovery activities from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) as of close of business Thursday, December 8.
- 19,250 individuals (homeowners and renters) have applied for assistance.
- Nearly $6.4 million in federal and state grants have been approved for applicants through the Individuals and Households Program. This assistance may be used for temporary disaster housing assistance; repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe, sanitary and functional condition; and replacement grants for serious, disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
- Over 4.2 million in U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans have been approved. To date, 14,041 disaster loan applications have been issued by the SBA, including 12,012 for homeowners and renters and 2,029 for businesses. The SBA application deadlines are: Physical Damage - December 26, 2006; Economic Injury - July 24, 2007.
- The Disaster Recovery Center in Tonawanda will cease operation at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. Residents have made more than 1,800 visits to the center, which has been open in Tonawanda nearly five weeks. The center is located at the Brighton Golf Club, 70 Brompton Road, Tonawanda. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the center closes.
- Applicants can check the status of their applications by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired. Both lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Individuals who suffered damages or losses as a result of the October lake-effect storm are urged to file claims with their insurance companies for disaster-related losses, but do not need to wait for insurance settlements before calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to register for disaster assistance (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired).
Individuals can also register online at www.fema.gov.
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 submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.