LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- More than $1.4 million in state and federal disaster assistance is already making its way to tornado survivors in Franklin and Johnson counties, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents to spend the money wisely.
The state and FEMA provide assistance to eligible Arkansans primarily as Housing Assistance and/or as Other Needs Assistance (ONA). Federal assistance also is available to qualified Arkansans in the form of low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
FEMA Housing Assistance grants may be used for:
- Essential repairs necessary to return a damaged home to a safe and functional condition;
- Replacing a home that has been completely destroyed;
- Reimbursements for hotel or motel lodging expenses directly related to the disaster (receipts for these expenses will be requested); and,
- Short-term housing.
ONA grants may be used to cover disaster-related expenses, such as:
- Medical, dental, funeral and burial costs;
- Replacement of disaster-damaged personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items and appliances; and,
- Vehicle repair or other serious needs.
"We want these grants to help Arkansans get through a very difficult time," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. "If used for its intended purposes, the money will do just that."
"We want all survivors to get the maximum benefit from their grants and are providing guidelines for their use in the packets eligible Arkansans receive," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. "The simple message is, spend your assistance money wisely."
Franklin and Johnson county disaster survivors have until September 6 to register with FEMA for assistance. They can register by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585, online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via a web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Phone lines are open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight, 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.