BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Now that only one month remains for Iroquois and Livingston County residents to apply for disaster assistance, officials want to make sure no one is overlooked.
With the May 6 registration deadline only a month away, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) officials are pulling out all the stops to ensure every eligible resident is aware of the availability of disaster assistance. So far the agencies have used television, radio, newspapers, Internet, flyers and door-to-door visits to get the word out. By launching the "Tell Your Neighbor" campaign, they now are enlisting the public to help in disaster recovery efforts by asking citizens to notify their neighbors that they may be eligible to receive federal disaster help.
"We're hoping the public will help us spread the message," said Larry Sommers, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for this disaster. "Take a few moments to call or knock on your neighbors' doors to see if they registered with FEMA."
Severe storms earlier this year flooded many northern Illinois neighborhoods. President Bush declared Iroquois and Livingston counties federal disaster areas; this opened the door for federal funds to assist people in recovery. Assistance comes in many forms such as grants, low-interest loans, unemployment benefits and crisis counseling.
"Disasters tend to bring out the best in most people, so we're confident the public will help speed the recovery by talking to their neighbors," said Andrew Velasquez III, IEMA's director.
Although the assistance process may continue after the deadline, May 6 will be the last day to call or go on line to apply for Individual Assistance. Eligible residents affected by these storms and flooding should apply as soon as possible by calling the toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Speech- or hearing-impaired may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Individuals also can register for disaster assistance at the FEMA Web site www.fema.gov.
Loan applications for homeowners, renters and businesses of any size to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related expenses also must be completed and returned to the SBA by May 6.
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 terrorism.