CHICAGO – Federal assistance to Cook County residents affected by the June 29 – July 2 severe storms and flooding has topped $375 million. This amount includes FEMA grants of more than $280 million in Individual and Households grants for rental assistance, repair and replacement funding, and other needs grants that help replace personal property and provide storage and childcare payments. In addition to FEMA grants there are more than $96.5 million in Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and businesses.
Here is a snapshot of the FEMA disaster assistance as of November 15:
- More than $280 million was approved for financial and direct services to eligible survivors who had uninsured or under-insured necessary needs and expenses triggered by the disaster. Of that amount, $241 million was for housing assistance. This includes:
- Funds for temporary housing, such as rental assistance or hotel costs for survivors who cannot live in their homes because of too much damage caused by the summer flooding;
- Funds for repair of an owner-occupied home that will make the home safe, secure and habitable;
- Funds to assist with moving and storage of household goods or needed personal property;
- Financial assistance to assist homeowners in cleaning and sanitizing minimally damaged homes;
- The remaining funds were disbursed as:
- Medical or dental costs attributable to the disaster.
- Assistance for childcare, limited to eight weeks.
As of Nov.14, the U.S. Small Business Administration had awarded $88.3 million in low interest disaster loans to homeowners whose homes suffered more extensive and costly damage than could be covered by a FEMA grant. SBA also awarded more than $8.2 million in disaster loans to help businesses get back on their feet.
While the application period has ended, survivors who have applied for FEMA assistance, should still keep in touch with FEMA. If there are changes in your telephone number, current mailing address, banking, or insurance information, you should let FEMA know or you may miss important telephone calls or correspondence. Be aware that phone calls from FEMA may appear to come from unidentified numbers. Make sure that FEMA has your current contact information and answer the phone as FEMA may be calling to obtain more information for your application.
- You can also update your contact information in the same ways you can get your questions answered:
- Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Use the FEMA app for smart devices.
- Call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). The toll-free numbers are open from 6 a.m. to midnight local time, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific phone number assigned to that service.
When calling you, FEMA specialists will have your FEMA registration number, telephone number and address of the damaged property. They may ask you for the first four digits of your FEMA registration number. They will not ask for money; there is no charge to apply for FEMA assistance. With so much riding on having the correct information, it is important that FEMA be able to contact you. Be aware that phone calls from FEMA may appear to come from unidentified numbers. Please make sure that FEMA has your current contact information.
If you are suspicious about a caller, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) to verify that FEMA is trying to reach you. If you use a relay service such as video relay service, captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. Reasonable accommodations, including translation and American Sign Language interpreters via Video Relay Service will be available to ensure effective communication with applicants with limited English proficiency, disabilities and access and functional needs. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (including 711 or Video Relay).