HELENA, Mont. -- Assistance for flood-related damages has reached nearly $16 million in Montana, according to Montana Disaster and Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Following historic snowfall and a rainy spring, we had to deal with almost every river and stream reaching or exceeding flood stage," Governor Brian Schweitzer said. "The state exhausted its resources and is grateful that FEMA assistance is available to help those coping with the enormous burden of repairing flood damage. Money is going directly to people for their personal property and additional money allocated to help with the economic recovery and safety of affected communities."
The FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is available to forty-eight Montana counties and five reservations under the Presidential disaster declaration of June 17. To date, more than $12.8 million in grants are being processed for payment to eligible PA applicants.
PA grant funds support clean up of disaster debris, repair the disaster-damaged roads and bridges people use every day going to work and school, put power poles back in the ground, repair schools and pay for emergency services during the disaster. The intent of the funds is to repair and bring back infrastructure damaged in the disaster that are used by the entire community. Close to $2.5 million of the money will go toward hazard mitigation, which protects public facilities from damage during future disasters.
FEMA Public Assistance funds are available to Montana communities through a partnership of cost sharing. "FEMA picks up 75-percent of the eligible cost of the project, and the state and the applicant share the remaining portion," Doug Mayne, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer in Montana said.
The types of entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance grant funding in Montana include: state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that provide critical public services.
Disaster assistance from FEMA's Individual Assistance Program is helping Montana residents directly in sixteen counties and three reservations meet their urgent storm-related needs and repair damaged homes. When a homeowner or renter applies to FEMA for assistance, an inspection of the damaged premises is scheduled, which usually takes place within 48 hours.
If assistance is approved, it takes approximately seven to ten days for the money to reach the registrant. Recipients of assistance can choose electronic fund transfer directly to their bank accounts, which speeds up the process.
As of Wednesday, August 17, disaster assistance to individuals to counties affected by the flooding amounted to:
- $3,139,112 in Housing and Other Needs Assistance;
- $2,919,288 for housing expenses, including temporary rental assistance, home repair costs and assistance toward replacing destroyed homes;
- $219,824 for "Other Needs Assistance" to cover essential disaster-related expenses, such as medical and dental costs and damaged personal possessions;
- 1,416 individuals having registered with FEMA; and
- 1,122 housing inspections completed.
To register for assistance or check on the status of a registration, residents can go online to www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. FEMA phone lines are open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs a...