CORDELE, Ga. -- In less than two weeks since President Bush declared a major disaster for the State of Georgia, significant amounts of federal aid have begun to flow into the affected areas.
Families, individuals and business owners who suffered damage from the severe storms and tornadoes of March 1-2, have been approved to receive more than $2.3 million in assistance from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“This early in the recovery process our concern is for people’s housing needs,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bolch, in charge of federal disaster recovery operations in the affected area. “For some, the housing assistance check is just the first check they will receive.”
“This money will allow many to have the necessity of safe and secure housing,” said State Coordinating Officer Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
Below is the breakdown of federal aid for the counties affected by the storms and tornadoes (figures are as of close of business Thursday, March 15, 2007):
- 1,548 households have registered for Individual Assistance.
- $616,212 has been approved through the Individuals and Household Program. Of that, FEMA has provided $403,684 in Housing Assistance and $212,528 in Other Needs Assistance (ONA).
- $1,684,100 in loans has been approved by the SBA for homeowners, renters, individuals and business owners affected by the severe storms and tornadoes. Of this, $1,497,100 has been approved for home loans and $187,000 has been approved for businesses. Approximately 80 percent of the SBA funds have been approved for homeowners, renters, individuals and business owners in Sumter County.
- 745 home inspections have been requested. To date, 726 have been scheduled and 666 have been completed. There are currently six inspectors in the field.
- 1,961 people have visited the five Disaster Recovery Centers established to meet the recovery-information needs of individuals in the counties affected by the March 1-2 severe storms and tornadoes.
- Homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage from the March 1-2 storms and tornadoes can register for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with impaired- speech or hearing can call TTY 800-462-7585. Applicants also can register online at www.fema.gov.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, economic status or retaliation. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or contact your State Office of Equal rights. If suspicious of any abuse of FEMA programs, please contact the fraud hotline at 1-800-323-8603.
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, vehi...