PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - In the three months since New Hampshire received a federal disaster declaration in response to the April nor?easter, more than $11 million in Public Assistance grants has been dispersed throughout communities affected by that storm. The assistance to local governments is part of the more than $20 million in total disaster aid for the state so far, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).
The typical life-cycle of a disaster involves a quick response to provide for basic needs, followed by long-term, large-scale Public Assistance funding to help local governments get back on their feet. Through the Public Assistance program, FEMA grants state and local governments and eligible nonprofit agencies funds to repair or replace damaged roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and their contents, publicly owned utilities and parks and recreation areas. It also includes funds for emergency services and eligible debris-removal costs related to the disaster. FEMA reimburses the applicant 75 percent of the eligible cost. The state and local applicant cover the rest of the cost.
All levels of government have a role in getting the grant money to the applicant for Public Assistance projects. For every applicant, a team with one FEMA member and one state member shepherds the applicant?s project or projects through the process. As projects are approved for funding, the state receives the obligated funds as the grants manager and distributes the funds to local governments.
A total of $11,385,489 has been obligated by FEMA to fund more than 1,200 Public Assistance projects so far, and federal and state project officers continue to work with local officials in formulating and funding the remaining projects.
In addition to Public Assistance grants, $3,226,497 in Individual Assistance has been approved to cover rental assistance, temporary lodging and grants for home repairs not covered by insurance, as well as grants for personal property loss, medical or dental costs and other significant disaster-related expenses. Nearly 2,000 households applied for assistance after President Bush approved a federal disaster declaration on April 27, 2007.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved low-interest disaster loans totaling $5,466,800 for homeowners, renters and business owners to repair their dwellings or businesses, replace damaged personal property and compensate for lost revenue.
Although the registration period has ended, individuals who have applied for assistance and have additional questions may visit www.fema.gov/assistance or call the toll-free FEMA Helpline 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech- or hearing-impaired. For questions regarding SBA disaster loans, call 1-800-659-2955, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekdays, or 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.