COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Only one week remains for individuals and business owners in the 23 Ohio counties designated for disaster assistance to call and apply for state and federal aid to replace losses from the severe storms and flooding that occurred May 18 through June 21.
“Not everything that was lost can be replaced, but disaster aid can help begin the recovery process,” said Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
August 2 is the deadline to apply for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free application numbers, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairment. Both numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The designated counties are Athens, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Noble, Perry, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas.
Individuals and business owners in those counties who sustained losses but have not applied for assistance should call as soon as possible.
The deadline to return U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications is also August 2. The completed loan application is the key to being considered for several assistance programs. If the completed application is not returned, disaster victims may be eliminating themselves from other programs. Even if the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be automatically referred to other available disaster assistance programs, including grants.
“This is our final effort to reach out to any disaster victims who still haven’t applied,” said Dale W. Shipley, state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery and executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA).
“We don’t want anyone to miss out on the assistance they are entitled to,” Champagne said. “If you suffered damages as a result of the flooding, you must call and apply before the deadline or we won’t be able to help.”
Even those who have insurance may still be eligible for disaster assistance for under-insured losses. However, in order to complete an application, FEMA will need the resident’s insurance settlement information to avoid any duplication of benefits.
People who have already applied may call the FEMA Helpline at the same numbers, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585, even after the deadline, to check on the status of their applications and get additional information.
The Ohio EMA coordinates State assistance and resources during an emergency and prepares the state for all hazards through planning, training, exercises and funding activities at the state and local level. This includes providing assistance to individuals and administering state and federal assistance to individuals and governmental entities recovering from disaster-related damage and costs. Ohio EMA coordinates homeland security funding, weapons of mass destruction training, anti-terrorism planning and training, and assists local and state agencies determine homeland strategies and priorities.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.