MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- More than $3 million in federal grants has been approved for individuals and families in Lake County who were affected by the August storms and flooding, but officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) believe many qualified residents have not yet registered.
Of the more than $3 million approved under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, more than $2.5 million was approved in Housing Assistance grants. Also, approximately $500,000 has been approved for Other Needs Assistance grants to help with disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other organizations.
To date, FEMA has received 3,147 applications for aid from Lake County. Officials remind county residents that the deadline to register with FEMA is Jan. 29. They urge anyone not yet registered to do so as soon as possible.
“Do not disqualify yourself. If you were affected by the disaster, please register with us,” says FEMA’s Donald Keldsen. “Don’t pass up the chance to get aid just because you think you’re not eligible.”
Indiana officials echo that statement. “Residents may be eligible for reimbursement on repair or cleanup they’ve already finished. They could also receive assistance for property losses or damage not covered by insurance,” said J. Eric Dietz of IDHS. “They’ll never know unless they register with FEMA.”
While the end-of-month deadline to register for Individual Assistance is quickly approaching, anyone wanting to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance must do so by January 4.
Anyone affected by the disaster should apply for assistance immediately by calling, toll-free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Internet registration is available around the clock at www.fema.gov.
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for home repair, temporary housing, uninsurable items and other serious disaster-related needs.
In addition, approximately $275,000 in disaster assistance loans has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA partners with FEMA during disaster operations and low-interest disaster loans are an important element of any recovery. Low-interest disaster loans are available for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations. Individuals with SBA questions may visit an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) (see list) or call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 or visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
Completing an SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for some forms of disaster aid, including possible additional grant assistance.
FEMA personnel will be present at Lake County DLOCs until Jan. 4, to answer questions. Applicants with questions or concerns may also call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOC)
Open Mon.-Fri.; 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closing Jan. 10
Gary Sanitary District office
839 Broadway – 1st Floor
Gary, IN 46402
Hobart Parks Department
18 East Old Ridge Road
Hobart, IN 46342
Civic Center (Blue Room)
5825 S. Sohl Avenue
Hammond, IN 46320
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.