INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- After reviewing additional documentation, officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have reclassified 116 occupants of the Candlelight Mobile Home Park, in Columbus, as owners of their residences. The decision makes these occupants eligible for further federal disaster assistance.
"We're happy for this change," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Smith. "We want everyone to get the maximum amount of assistance available to them as allowed by law."
"This will help get these people on the road to recovery," said Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Joseph E. Wainscott, Jr. "It's a big step toward some normalcy in their lives."
Initially classified as renters when registering for federal disaster assistance, the occupants were not eligible to receive Individual Assistance (IA) to repair damage to their residences. That assistance is only available to homeowners for their primary residences.
The reclassification came after the residents provided information demonstrating they had entered into an "Option to Purchase Agreement" with their landlord(s) prior to the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that prompted the presidential disaster declaration in Indiana.
The change in status means the occupants can now seek assistance to repair damage to their homes as long as it was their primary residence.
Homeowners, renters and business owners impacted by the disaster have until August 11 to apply for Individual Assistance (IA). Individuals and businesses should call the toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Speech-or hearing-impaired may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Individuals also may register for disaster assistance at the FEMA Web site www.fema.gov.
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.