ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Eight weeks after a presidential disaster declaration was issued for southeastern Minnesota, nearly $47 million in federal recovery funds has been made available to individuals in the seven designated counties, according to officials from Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the U.S Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Recovery officials continue to deliver aid to eligible residents and business owners in areas affected by the severe storms and flooding that swept through the area in August.
"As the period to register for assistance draws to a close, FEMA is pleased with the aid we and the state of Minnesota have delivered to affected residents," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell. "Less than one week remains to apply for assistance, so we urge residents who suffered damages but haven't yet registered to do so today."
The presidential disaster declaration was issued Aug. 23. Residents in seven counties - Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha and Winona - may be eligible to receive FEMA Individual Assistance funds. By the close of business on Wednesday, Oct. 17, a total of 4,958 people in the designated counties had registered for Individual Assistance, and $16,536,742 in Housing Assistance and $1,392,996 in Other Needs Assistance had already been approved.
Individual Assistance is available for homeowners and renters to help replace losses not fully covered by insurance. It can include rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable; grants to repair homes and replace essential household items to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional; and grants to meet serious disaster-related needs not covered by other programs.
Those affected by the severe storms and flooding can begin applying for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time) seven days a week. Individuals can also register online at www.fema.gov. The deadline to register for assistance is Monday, Oct. 22.
However help will remain only a phone call away at the same toll-free numbers until further notice, on the FEMA Helpline, for disaster victims who register before the deadline. FEMA Individual Assistance Specialists will be available at SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOCs) in Rochester, Winona and Rushford, MN until further notice to answer questions regarding completed applications.
Homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations may also be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help them recover from the disaster, including loans to recover from property losses not compensated by insurance or grants. In addition, small business may receive loans to help provide working capital to recover from the disaster's economic impact. By the close of business on Wednesday, Oct. 17, a total of 3,741 applications for home loans and 785 applications for business and economic injury disaster loans had been issued; $28,867,400 in loans had been approved.
Federal Disaster Assistance by County
The following table shows how many applications for FEMA assistance have been received and how much Housing Assistance, Other Needs Assistance and cumulative assistance has been awarded to individuals and households in each county. All figures are current as of the close of business on Wednesday, Oct. 17. (Figures are rounded to the nearest dollar.)
|County||Applications||Housing Assistance||Other Needs Assistance||Cumulative Assistance|
Disaster Legal Services
The Disaster Legal Services hotline is operational, and affected residents can call 1-866-408-8017 to receive free legal assistance. The hotline is staffed by attorneys of the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division. The program is funded by FEMA and administered by the state of Minnesota.
Hotline attorneys can handle questions regarding disaster-related subjects such as insurance claims, landlord/tenant issues, drawing up powers of attorney, and replacement of wills and other important documents that were lost or destroyed. To be eligible for the legal assistance, individuals must not have a lawyer or the resources to hire one, must live in one of the seven counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance programs, and must need legal assistance as a direct result of the severe storms and flooding.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.