MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- Just two weeks after President Bush issued a major disaster declaration for Indiana, designating Lake County eligible for federal disaster support, FEMA and Indiana officials have approved more than $1 million in state and federal financial assistance to help individuals, families and businesses recover from losses caused by severe storms and flooding in August.
"We are working closely with FEMA to ensure that all necessary resources are being made available to individuals affected by this disaster," said Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director and State Coordinating Officer J. Eric Dietz.
Of the more than $1 million total approved under FEMA's Individuals and Households Program, more than $850,000 was approved in Housing Assistance grants. Also, more than $150,000 was approved for Other Needs Assistance grants to help with disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other organizations.
To date, FEMA has received 1,347 applications for aid from the designated county.
There are enough disaster funds to take care of every eligible applicant. "Accepting disaster aid will not take help away from anyone else," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Donald Keldsen. "If you've been affected by this disaster, register as soon as possible."
Anyone affected by the disaster should apply for assistance immediately by calling, toll-free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov.
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, uninsurable items and other serious disaster-related needs.
Low-interest disaster loans are made available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners and renters as well as business owners and private non-profit organizations. Completing an SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for some forms of disaster aid, including possible additional grant assistance. Individuals with SBA questions may visit the Disaster Recovery Center or call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 or visit SBA's website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
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.