BURLINGTON, Vt. – Vermonters who experienced damage or losses as the result of Tropical Storm Irene have until October 31 to register for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
FEMA, the State of Vermont, and the SBA remind homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations in Vermont that they have roughly two weeks to apply for assistance for physical damage caused by the heavy rains and flooding that occurred between August 27 and September 2.
"Anyone who has not registered for help should act now," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. "If you had losses of any kind, call or go online. Don't guess whether you qualify for assistance, let us figure that out. We want to ensure that everyone who is eligible receives help."
To date, 6,451 Vermont individuals and families have registered with FEMA, opening the door to potential Individual Assistance grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the SBA. In short, these grants and loans are designed to help eligible homeowners or renters repair their homes and replace personal property. Low-interest loans from the SBA also help businesses and qualified private non-profits recover.
More than $31 million has been approved in federal assistance - more than $16.9 million in FEMA housing grants for rental and home repair assistance and more than $1.1 million for Other Needs Assistance, such as replacement of personal property. In addition, the SBA has issued 5,725 loan applications to homeowners, renters and businesses in Vermont. To date, a total of 750 have been returned, and 240 applications totaling over $13.5 million have been approved.
There are two ways to register online, either at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or at FEMA's mobile website, m.fema.gov for Smartphone or tablet users. Online registration shortens the time it takes to register for aid and allows you to check the progress of your application online.
To register by phone, FEMA's 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.
Some who register for aid from FEMA may receive a disaster loan application from the SBA, which provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes, as well as private non-profit organizations with property damaged by the disaster.
If you receive an SBA disaster loan application, you should fill out the paperwork. No one is obligated to take a loan, but if you don't complete the application it may close the door to other FEMA grants.
For more information, call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339) for people with speech or hearing disabilities). Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
Those who haven't registered with FEMA or applied to the SBA are encouraged to act before the deadline. Registration keeps every financial assistance option open, especially if insurance shortfalls resul...