Toledo, OH -- In less than a week since the President declared Lucas County a major disaster area, more than 1,313 applications have been taken to assist storm and flood disaster victims, state and federal officials announced today. People who have been affected are encouraged to call 800-462-9029 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week to apply for federal and state disaster assistance programs. The number for hearing and speech impaired is TTY 800-462-7585. Multi-lingual operators are available to take your calls.
EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REPORTED YOUR DAMAGE, YOU MUST CALL TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL/STATE ASSISTANCE
Disaster officials reminded residents that even if they had previously called the city, county or local voluntary agencies to report their damage or seek assistance during the flooding, now that a Presidential declaration has been issued, flood victims must call the toll-free FEMA application number to be eligible for federal and state assistance programs.
"That one phone call is your application for a wide variety of federal and state disaster assistance," Lou Botta, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer said. "The call is free, convenient, confidential, and usually only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete."
SBA ISSUES FIRST DISASTER LOANS
The U. S. Small Business Administration issued the first low-interest disaster loans, totaling more than $129,000, to seven local homeowners this morning in a ceremony at Government Center. Disaster officials pointed out that these totals would continue to rise daily as more applications are processed.
GRANTS, LOW-INTEREST LOANS, AND OTHER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
"Flood victims may be eligible for a wide variety of federal and state assistance programs," Dale Shipley, Ohio EMA's State Coordinating Officer said. "These can include a combination of grants, low-interest loans, and various forms of disaster assistance from other state and federal agencies. Applicants may also be referred to local voluntary agencies to address immediate unmet needs."
Disaster Housing grants, which do not have to be repaid, may be available to individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed by the storms and flooding. These grants may cover temporary rental assistance, emergency repairs needed to make a residence habitable or reimbursement for repairs that have already been completed, and mortgage or rental assistance in cases where the disaster has caused extreme economic hardship.
Emergency repairs may include such items as repair or replacement of damaged furnace, hot water heater, and electrical junction box, basement clean up and debris removal, and minor structural repairs to replace windows or doors and make the home habitable. Funds are also available for mitigation measures to minimize the effects of future disasters.
For major damage or personal property loss, a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may be available. "Don't let the name fool you," Botta explained. "In disaster, homeowners and renters can receive disaster loans from the SBA, as well as business owners, to cover uninsured or under-insured losses."
If you receive an SBA loan application you should complete and return the packet as soon as possible. SBA officials pointed out that completing the application does not obligate you to take a disaster loan, but if the packet is not returned it may delay other forms of disaster assistance. SBA low-interest disaster loans are currently below four percent.
Business owners are only eligible for loans. These are designed to repair or replace destroyed or damaged business facilities, inventory, machinery, equipment, etc., not covered by insurance. The loans are a...