BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Eight days after Vermonters became eligible for federal assistance for damage and losses from Tropical Storm Irene, more than $7.6 million in federal assistance grants has been approved.
This is only the beginning of aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help Vermont recover from the widespread destruction this historic storm inflicted.
"We have almost 500 FEMA specialists in the state working with Vermont Emergency Management and many public and private organizations here focused on recovery for Vermont. We will be here for the long haul," said Craig Gilbert, FEMA's federal coordinating officer who leads the agency's mission in Vermont. "Our mission is to provide Vermonters with all the federal aid we may deliver."
FEMA assistance was approved for applicants in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties. Many people have already received their grants.
FEMA individual assistance grants for homeowners and renters can pay expenses for temporary housing, home repair, and other serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
Here is a snapshot of disaster recovery statistics:
- $7.4 million has been approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs;
- $313,000 has been approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental and transportation expenses and lost personal possessions;
- 3,431 applicants have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance;
- 1,524 home inspections to record disaster damage have been completed.
- 2,855 applications for low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and business owners have been sent out by U.S. Small Business Administration;
- 6 disaster recovery centers are open, in Barre, Brattleboro, Dover, Killington, Rutland and Waterbury and more centers will open soon;
- 301 visits were made to the disaster recovery centers;
- Approximately 100 FEMA community relations specialists are going door-to-door in affected communities explaining FEMA programs, encouraging registration and providing other recovery information.
"We want everyone with losses to register. FEMA grants help not just individuals but local communities and our whole state recover," said Vermont Emergency Management Director Mike O'Neill.
Many people called Vermont 211 to report storm damages. This does not register anyone for FEMA assistance. The only way anyone can access FEMA aid is to register with FEMA's 800 number -- 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. The phone lines are staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
To find the nearest disaster recovery center go to www.fema.gov/drclocator or call FEMA's 800 number above. More disaster recovery centers will be opening soon. The recovery centers are staffed with disaster recovery specialists from various federal, state and local agencies and organizations who can answer questions about disaster assistance programs. It is NOT necessary to visit a center to register for assistance. In fact, applicants are asked to register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center.
Vermonters in ...