MADISON, Wis. -- If your property was damaged by the severe June storms, tornadoes and flooding, help may be available. Not only is money available to make repairs to homes and businesses, but also additional funds may be available to build back more resistant to future disaster losses.
Disaster-recovery officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Wisconsin Emergency Management all acknowledge the importance of including mitigation money in the SBA disaster loan.
According to Frank Skaggs, director of SBA Field Operations Center East, "An important part of any individual's recovery efforts from this disaster should include a plan to prevent future damages from occurring." Borrowers interested in requesting hazard-mitigation funds should submit proposals describing the mitigation measures to be installed along with project cost estimates. Proposals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The SBA will make every attempt to approve the additional funding, subject to the administrative limits, Skaggs said.
What steps can I take to protect my home from flooding?
In the case of flooding, mitigation efforts do not have to be complicated or costly. They can be as simple as making sure gutters are clean and water drainage is directed away from a building's foundation, to installing an auto-start generator so your sump pump continues to run if you lose power. Appliances, water heaters, furnaces and fuel tanks can be raised and anchored to keep them from being damaged by water in the basement. Storing personal items on shelves and not on basement floors can prevent the loss of family treasures.
For more information on mitigation measures, go to www.fema.gov/rebuild/smart_strong Business owners and individuals also can visit one of the many Disaster Recovery Centers now open and speak with a SBA customer service representative. Two lists of DRC locations are attached.
Examples of mitigation measures for flooding and erosion include grading or contouring of land, relocating or elevating utilities or mechanical equipment, building retaining walls, seawalls, and installing sewer backflow valves.
Mitigation proposals should be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX. 76155.
Those unable to visit the centers may obtain applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for those with speech or hearing impairment) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.
To be eligible for SBA Disaster Loans, you must first register for FEMA assistance. You may do so by calling 800- 621-FEMA (3362) Those with speech or hearing impairment can call TTY-1-800-462-7585. Both telephone lines are open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Online registration is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.fema.gov.
For more information on SBA disaster loans go to www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or visit one of the Wisconsin Disaster Recovery Centers listed in the two attached tables.
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.