BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Although the road to the Green Mountain State’s full recovery from the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene will be a long one, much progress has already been made. Recovery is being supported by $34.6 million in federal disaster grants and low-interest loans to Vermont residents and businesses.
At the request of Gov. Peter Shumlin, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the registration deadline. Nov. 15 is the new deadline to register for federal disaster assistance. This replaces the prior deadline of Oct. 31.
Individuals and families have received more than $18.5 million in grants for housing repairs, rent for temporary housing and other assistance. More than $16.1 million in low-interest disaster recovery loans has been approved for homeowners and businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Following is a snapshot of disaster assistance at close of business Oct. 23:
- 6,619 registrations have been received.
- 3,198 Vermonters have been given housing assistance, and 134 have received the maximum available grant of $30,200. The average housing award is $5,543.
- 1,322 Vermonters have been given temporary rental assistance.
- There are six inspectors in the field and 4,500 property inspections to document damage have been completed. The average turnaround time for applicants to receive inspections after registering is slightly more than two days.
- The SBA has sent 5,842 disaster loan applications to homeowners, renters and businesses in Vermont. To date 842 have been returned to SBA and 276 applications totaling more than $16.1 million have been approved.
- There have been 3,959 visits to Disaster Recovery Centers.
State and federal recovery officials stress that many resources are available to help individuals recover, including:
- Disaster Recovery Centers are open in Dover and Waterbury. Visiting a center is not necessary to receive disaster assistance, but is an option for those who would like to speak in person with recovery specialist. For locations go to www.fema.gov/drclocator.
- Registration for Assistance: A call to 2-1-1 is not the same as registering with FEMA. These are the only ways to register with FEMA: Call 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or at FEMA’s mobile website, m.fema.gov. Online registration allows you to check the progress of your application online.
- Importance of SBA Loan Application: After a designated federal disaster, SBA makes low interest loans not just to small businesses but also to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and eligible non-profits. FEMA cannot give grants to cover lost personal property, vehicle damage or moving and storage expenses to anyone who has been asked to submit a loan application to SBA but fails to do so.
If the SBA approves a loan, no one is required to accept it, but having it available increases resources for recovery. For more information, call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities). Applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. The SBA provides in-person help at five centers throughout the state. To locate a center go to www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/VT%2012784_9.pdf.
- Rental Assistance from FEMA: Anyone who was displaced from their home by the storm may be eligible for a grant from FEMA to pay for a rental. People who initially told FEMA they did not...