Toledo, OH -- In only a little more than a week since President Clinton issued a major disaster declaration, almost $1 million in grants and loan interest loans have been approved for some of the 1,747 Lucas County flood victims, according to state and federal recovery officials.
"This early in the recovery process our concern is for people's housing needs. For some, the housing assistance grant is just the first check they may receive," said Lou Botta, the federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Already 486 disaster housing grant checks, totaling $860.419, have been approved since the application process began last Tuesday (August 22). An additional $129,000 was approved for seven low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that were presented to local homeowners on Monday. Applicants maybe eligible for more than one assistance program.
The disaster housing 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 a damaged furnace, hot water heater, or an electrical junction box, basement clean up and debris removal, minor structural repairs to replace windows or doors to make the home habitable, and possible reimbursement for repairs or expenses that have already been completed," Botta said. "Funds are also available for mitigation measures to minimize the effects of future disasters."
"Meeting housing needs for flood victims is our top priority," said State Coordinating Officer Dale W. Shipley, Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA). "These first checks are just the beginning of the federal and state assistance that will be available to disaster victims."
Almost 1,800 residents in Lucas County have already called to apply for disaster assistance. Individuals or families who suffered damage or loss to a home, personal property or business in the severe storms and flooding that began on July 29 through August 2 are urged to apply for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number, 800-462-9029. Those with a speech or hearing impairment should call (TTY) 800-462-7585. Both phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, until further notice, and multi-lingual operators are available.