BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Since President Obama declared a major disaster in Vermont on September 1 due to damage from Tropical Storm Irene, more than 6,894 Vermont individuals and families have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Registration is the first step to determine eligibility for individual assistance grants from FEMA and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. FEMA and SBA have approved more than $43 million in federal aid to individuals, families, businesses and communities.
There are only a few days left to register for FEMA assistance. The deadline is November 15 and after that, it will be too late. The same deadline applies to SBA disaster loan applications and to public entities’ requests for assistance.
“Our major concern is that people who have declined to register or have put it off may find themselves in a different situation later this winter,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo, leader of the FEMA mission in Vermont.
For example, a family could unexpectedly lose its temporary housing and need to move into a rental. If the head of household is registered, FEMA might be able to help with rental assistance.
Also some flood damage may not yet be apparent. For example, later this winter wiring may corrode or a furnace may stop working due to flood damage.
“Your best bet is to register before the deadline. That way, if you need assistance later because of Irene, you are in our system. If you don’t register you have eliminated your chance of receiving disaster aid,” Russo said.
Following is a snapshot of federal disaster assistance at close of business Nov. 9:
- 6,894 registrations have been received from individuals and families
- Nearly $19.8 million approved grants for individuals and homeowners of which:
- $18.4 million is for home repair or replacement and for rental assistance
- $1.4 million is for other disaster-related expenses
- 3,291 Vermonters have been given housing assistance, and 143 have received the maximum available grant of $30,200. The average housing assistance award is $5,577. Most awards are for repairs of disaster-damaged homes.
- 1,369 Vermonters have been given temporary rental assistance.
- 4,785 property inspections to document damage have been completed.
- $22.4 million approved in loans to homeowners and businesses by the SBA. SBA has sent 6,075 disaster loan applications to homeowners, renters and businesses in Vermont. To date 1,054 have been returned to SBA.
- There were 4,158 visits to Disaster Recovery Centers.
- FEMA has obligated more than $849,000 in grants to reimburse Vermont communities 75 percent of their costs for emergency response, debris cleanup, infrastructure repair and other eligible expenses due to damage from Irene.
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.
After a federal disaster declaration, SBA makes low interest loans not just to small businesses but also to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and eligible non-profits.
If FEMA registrants receive an SBA loan application in the mail, they should fill it out and return it no later than Nov. 15. FEMA cannot give the applicant a grant to cover lost property, vehicle damage or moving and storage expenses if the individual has not first returned the SBA application. If the SBA approves a loan, no one is required to accept it, but having it ...