BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Over the last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration have brought almost $1 million in new aid to Vermonters recovering from the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene, bringing the total amount of federal disaster assistance to date to $36 million.
“We’re gratified to bring this assistance to Vermonters and there will be more help to come,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. “It’s critical that everyone who was affected by Irene be aware that Nov. 15 is the deadline to register with FEMA.”
Russo noted that some Vermonters with damage from Irene have said their loss was too small to register with FEMA. However, the agency may be able to help with any amount of loss over $50.
“And to the many people we’ve encountered who say they won’t register with FEMA because they want others to benefit, I commend your generosity,” he said, “But know that the agency has the funding to cover all eligible claims for assistance to individuals and households affected by Irene.”
He also pointed out that accepting a grant from FEMA is a way to help not only the individual or family who receives the grant to recover, but also the whole community – because FEMA grants are usually spent in the local community.
Finally, Russo urged everyone who has received an application for a disaster loan from the SBA to complete and return the form. No one is required to take out a loan, but if approved, a loan is a potential source of funds for recovery. In addition, completing and returning the SBA form is also a required step before FEMA can provide grants for some losses.
As of close of business Oct. 27 individuals and families have received nearly $19 million in grants for housing repairs, temporary housing and other disaster-related needs. SBA has approved more than $11.5 million in low-interest disaster recovery loans to homeowners and renters and more than $5.6 million in loans to businesses.
The following is a snapshot of disaster assistance as of close of business Oct. 27
- 6,727 registrations received.
- 3,169 Vermonters given housing assistance; 138 have received the maximum available grant of $30,200. The average housing award is $5,556.
- 1,340 Vermonters given temporary rental assistance.
- There are six inspectors in the field documenting disaster damage. To date, 4,579 inspections have been completed.
- The SBA has sent 5,936 disaster loan applications to homeowners, renters and businesses in Vermont. To date only 918 have been returned to SBA and 292 applications totaling more than $17.2 million have been approved.
- There have been 4,054 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 with a recovery specialist in person. For locations go to www.fema.gov/drclocator.
- SBA Loan Application process: 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 failed to do so.
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/ele/. The SBA provides in-person help at d...