LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In just one month, nearly $18 million in state and federal disaster funds have been awarded to eligible individuals and families to assist with their recovery.
Arkansans have already begun to rebuild and repair following a presidential disaster declaration on May 2, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said Thursday. In fact, the first disaster assistance grants reached some of the state's survivors weeks ago.
"We're happy that close to $18 million is already on its way to Arkansas disaster survivors," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "With these state and federal dollars, the people of Arkansas can successfully start to recover."
The $17,951,724 in total disaster assistance approved for Arkansas as of June 2 comes from four sources:
$12,723,625 - Housing Assistance
$2,315,499 - Other Needs Assistance (ONA)
$2,552,600 - U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans
$360,000 - Public Assistance for Arkansas National Guard expenses
The Housing Assistance and the ONA programs help eligible Arkansans who are uninsured or underinsured. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans for home and business owners and some nonprofit agencies. The Public Assistance support was allocated for costs the Arkansas National Guard incurred while safeguarding the state's citizens and their property during the disaster.
"Delivering recovery assistance as quickly as possible - that is FEMA's number one priority in every disaster," said Federal Coordinating Nancy M. Casper. "Our partners from the state and the SBA share that sense of urgency, and we achieve that goal as one team."
With a May 27 amendment to the presidential declaration, residents of Arkansas, Lee, Poinsett and St. Francis counties now join residents of 26 other counties in applying for disaster grants under the Housing Assistance and ONA programs. Previously designated counties are Benton, Boone, Clay, Crittenden, Cross, Faulkner, Garland, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Madison, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Phillips, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White and Woodruff.
More than 8,300 individuals and families had registered with FEMA for assistance as of June 2. Arkansans can register three ways: at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. FEMA phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week, and multilingual operators are available.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.