PEORIA, Ill. -- Local officials, county agencies and certain private non-profit organizations in central and southwestern Illinois have only a week left to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to possibly be eligible for federal assistance following the severe winter storm that hit the area Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
The deadline to submit the one-page RPA is March 12, according to state and federal disaster officials.
The president's disaster declaration, issued Feb. 9, designated 18 counties eligible for federal public assistance. Those counties are: Bond, Calhoun, Christian, DeWitt, Fayette, Jersey, Logan , Macon , Macoupin, Madison , McLean, Monroe , Montgomery , Piatt, Sangamon, Shelby , St. Clair and Woodford.
Representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) held seven applicants' briefings for officials of governmental organizations, local officials and private non-profit agencies throughout the designated counties to explain the procedures for requesting assistance.
Those public officials who were unable to attend one of these briefings may call IEMA to submit their Requests for Public Assistance before the March 12 deadline. The number to call in Springfield is (217) 782-8719.
To date, 350 RPAs from government entities and organizations have already been submitted. After the form is processed by the state, FEMA project officers work in partnership with applicants to provide comprehensive information, explanations and technical assistance. They document expenses, determine eligible costs for reimbursement, and develop and review project worksheets.
"We want to make sure that every community that was affected has an opportunity to apply," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Michael H. Smith. "This reimbursement of eligible expenses resulting from a storm of this magnitude is essential in helping cities, towns and municipalities be better prepared financially to meet the next storm."
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.