OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Time has almost run out for residents affected by the January 6-16, 2009, severe winter storm, landslides, mudslides and flooding to register for federal/state assistance. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) said that Tuesday, March 31, is the last day for homeowners, renters or businesses to register with FEMA.
"Time has almost run out," said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin. "We want to be sure everyone is aware that after March 31, it will be too late to apply for federal/state disaster assistance. It only takes a minute to register, so don't wait."
Homeowners, renters and businesses in the following counties are eligible to register for disaster assistance: Benton, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom.
To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
"People affected by the disaster should register with FEMA, even if they have insurance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. "Even if people have insurance, they may be underinsured. By registering, they may be eligible for losses not covered by insurance. It's definitely in their best interest to register now, before it's too late."
Tuesday, March 31, 2009, is also the deadline for homeowners, renters and businesses to return completed disaster loan applications to the SBA. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of help for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with expenses caused by uninsured disaster losses of real or personal property.
For applicants who receive an SBA loan application, it is important for them to complete and return the application. Those approved for a loan are not obligated to take the loan and may make that decision later in the recovery process.
More than $11.5 million in federal disaster assistance has been disbursed since the Presidential disaster declaration was issued on January 30, 2009. There are 3,710 homeowners and renters who have applied for disaster assistance, and inspectors have visited 2,975 homes. Grants awarded to date total $7,671,580, which includes:
- $6,905,256 in housing assistance to cover temporary rental assistance, home repairs and replacement
- $766,324 in other needs assistance to cover essential personal property losses, medical, dental, funeral, transportation or serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 162 low-interest disaster loans for a total of $3,904,900 to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance or other compensation, bringing the total of disaster assistance so far to $11,576,480.
For questions about disaster assistance programs, to check on the status of a previously filed application, or to update personal information, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 800-462-7585) and select the Helpline option.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.