OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that nearly $3.2 million in disaster assistance is in the hands of Oklahomans affected by the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that prompted a major disaster declaration on July 7, 2007.
Under FEMA's Individuals and Households Program, housing assistance reached $2,603,537 and a total of $624,410 was approved for Other Needs.
State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe said, "This is only the beginning. We are encouraging residents to call FEMA's teleregistration line and apply for help. It's important to get recovery dollars into the hands of residents who have suffered from these storms."
To date, 1,748 individuals have applied for federal and state aid by calling the toll-free application number or by visiting the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Miami and Bartlesville. The centers provide answers to questions about the disaster aid process. Additional DRCs will be opened as they are needed.
Federal funds are available to eligible applicants under the Individuals and Households Program for rental assistance, home repair, and other essential needs. Low interest loans for disaster losses are provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for eligible home and business owners.
Low-interest disaster loans from SBA are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.
SBA representatives at all of the DRCs meet with each resident or business owner to provide assistance in completing their disaster loan application, answer any questions about SBA's disaster loan program, and accept completed disaster loan applications. SBA assistance is also available at 1-800-659-2955 or www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
Federal Coordinating Officer Philip E. Parr said, "FEMA is continuing to register individuals and business owners, inspect damage, process claims and deliver assistance quickly so the affected communities can get through the effects of the storms and return to functioning normally."
Those who had losses due to the disaster should register online at www.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired. The toll-free numbers are available daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time) until further notice.
SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.