WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Only three weeks remain for survivors of the June 1 severe storms and tornadoes to register for state and federal disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We encourage everyone affected by the disaster in Hampden and Worcester counties to register with FEMA before it's too late," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo.
The deadline to register is Aug. 15, 2011.
FEMA Housing Assistance grants may cover rental assistance, home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance. Other Needs Assistance grants may be available to replace personal property and help meet disaster-related medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable-aid programs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations for losses not covered by insurance. The SBA may lend up to $200,000 to repair or replace a primary residence and up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to repair or replace personal property damaged or destroyed by the June 1 severe storms and tornadoes. Up to $2 million may be available for businesses for their uncompensated disaster losses.
Registrants who received SBA disaster loan applications should complete and return them by the Aug. 15 deadline. People who do not qualify for an SBA loan may be referred for other forms of disaster assistance.
"The best way to find out if you're eligible for disaster assistance is to register," said Kurt Schwartz, state coordinating officer for the disaster and director of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Tornado survivors in Hampden and Worcester counties may register in the following ways:
- By telephone at FEMA's toll-free number, 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the speech- and hearing-impaired. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST) daily. Multilingual operators are available for both numbers.
- Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- On a Web-enabled mobile device or smart phone at m.fema.gov.
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.