FINDLAY, Ohio -- There are only three days left to register for disaster assistance.
Residents and business owners affected by the storms and flooding that hit northwest Ohio Aug. 20-28 have until the end of the day Friday, Oct. 26 to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or to apply for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Disaster assistance could include grants for temporary housing, for basic repairs to make a home livable again, for basic household furniture and appliances, and for medical, dental and other disaster-related losses and expenses. Disaster loans from the SBA can be made to homeowners, renters and owners of businesses of all sizes.
"Register for assistance as soon as you can," said Nancy Dragani, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. "There are just a few days left."
There are two ways to register: by phone, at the toll-free registration and helpline number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired; or online at www.fema.gov.
The phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"Even if you have insurance, or don?t think you will receive aid, call and register," said Jesse Munoz, federal coordinating officer of FEMA. "There are many different disaster aid programs available to help people recover."
Here are a few important things to keep in mind about federal disaster assistance:
- Grants for temporary housing and for home repair do not depend on your income;
- It is a good idea to register even if you have flood insurance, because insurance may not cover all damages;
- There is no fixed amount of aid available for the disaster, so accepting a grant does not prevent others from getting assistance;
- Some flood damage doesn?t show up until long after waters have receded;
- If you received an SBA loan packet, you must return the completed loan application in order to be eligible to receive FEMA grants for personal property such as essential furniture and appliances. (All other federal assistance does not hinge on completion of the SBA application.)
For more information about SBA loans, or for help in filling out a loan application, call 1-800-659-2955, or 1-800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired. If possible, visit an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center to get a form and help filling it out.
Centers are located at the Cube in Findlay (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); at the Educational Service Center in Ottawa (open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); and the YMCA in Shelby (open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). Business owners can use the SBA Business Outreach Center at Commercial Savings Bank in Findlay (open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays).
Applications may be updated and will continue to be processed after the Oct. 26 application deadline. Helpline representatives (at FEMA?s toll-free numbers above) are available to answer questions about assistance or check the status of an application.
The eight counties designated for federal disaster assistance for individuals and families are: Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot.
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.