BURLINGTON, Vt. -- As winter approaches, Vermont residents and businesses recovering from the damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene have been helped with more than $26 million in federal aid. Those who have been affected by the storm have until Oct. 31 to register for federal disaster assistance.
That total includes more than $17 million in housing and other assistance grants provided to individuals and families by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and another $9 million in disaster recovery low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration, officials said.
Of the $17 million approved so far, nearly $16 million went toward housing assistance grants to help repair, rebuild or replace housing and for rental assistance, as well as more than $1 million for assistance with other needs, such as replacement of personal property or medical expenses.
“The FEMA team has supported the state in its efforts to get all Vermonters whose homes were severely damaged by Irene into temporary housing,” said Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. “Many people are staying with family and friends at the moment. But after a few weeks and with winter approaching, what seemed like an acceptable housing arrangement may no longer be. If that is the case, it would be a good idea to apply for temporary rental assistance.”
Vermonters who have already registered with FEMA and reported that they did not need rental assistance will have received a letter saying they are ineligible for assistance.
But if their situation has changed and they can no longer stay with family or friends they should call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) to report that their circumstances have changed.
FEMA’s registration number is: 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Online registration is available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or at FEMA’s mobile website, m.fema.gov for Smartphone or tablet users. Online registration allows you to check the progress of your application online.
Following is a weekly wrap-up of disaster assistance by the numbers:
6,242 registrations have been received.
2,900 Vermonters have been approved for housing assistance, and 128 have received the maximum Individuals and Households Program award of $30,200. The average housing award is just under $6,000.
1,248 Vermonters have been approved for more than $2 million in temporary rental assistance.
There are 7 inspectors in the field and 4,190 property inspections to document damage have been completed. The turnaround time for applicants to receive inspections is just under three days.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued 5,528 disaster loan applications to homeowners, renters and businesses in Vermont. To date a total of 647 have been returned, and 161 applications totaling more than $9.2 million have been approved.
Following is a summary of some disaster assistance available:
- Legal Services. Those facing legal issues due to Tropical Storm Irene may call 800-889-2047 for free legal advice. Those who qualify for assistance will be matched with Vermont lawyers volunteering their time. Legal assistance may include help with insurance claims, home repair contracts and contractors, building permits, replacement of wills and other legal documents destroyed in the disaster and counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems and landlord/tenant problems.
- Disaster Unemployment assistance is available to those whose jobs were permanently or temporarily lost due to the disaster, including those who are self-employed. To apply call the Vermont Departmen...