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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- An awe-inspiring benefit of living in the Commonwealth of Virginia is that a simple stroll will often become a full embrace with the Commonwealth's heritage. History flows from irreplaceable homes and buildings that fill city streets and dot the countryside. Many of these historic structures suffered damage during the Virginia earthquake and private owners of these homes and buildings should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Earthquake damaged historic homes used as primary residences may be eligible for Individual Assistance from FEMA. Both historic buildings used as businesses or operated by private nonprofit organizations and historic homes used as primary residences may also be eligible for loans issued through the Small Business Administration (SBA). But the initial step to access assistance is registration with FEMA.
"The beauty of Virginia's historic architecture needs preservation, and FEMA wants to provide historic home and business owners all the assistance we are able to provide under our programs. Registering is a critical step in getting resources into the hands of owners of historic homes damaged by the earthquake," said Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Register even if you have already repaired damage to your historic home or building," said Virginia's State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline. "Virginia has a wealth of privately owned historic homes and buildings. Registering with FEMA is the only way you'll be considered for federal disaster aid."
Some historic home and building owners are required by ordinance to rehabilitate their structures according to established preservation guidelines. Rehabilitation returns a building to the form and condition represented by the time period in which the structure was built. Preservation guidelines recommend using materials as similar as possible to the original materials. It may include saving and reusing original building materials such as bricks to rebuild a destroyed chimney. While rewarding, good stewardship and proper rehabilitation can be a long and costly process.
Julie V. Langan is the Director of the Division of Resource Services and Review of the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) for the Commonwealth of Virginia. DHR staff is available to guide owners of historic buildings as they undertake repairs. For example, DHR maintains a webpage with a wealth of information including a directory of craftsmen trained in proper restoration and rehabilitation techniques. The Division of Resource Services and Review can be contacted at 804-482-6087, and the Department's website can be reached by following this case sensitive link, www.dhr.virginia.gov/Quake/quakeResponse.html.
To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362), if you use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585, if you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362 or go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Phone lines are open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Online registration is available at any time. Those with smart phones or other mobile devices can register at m.fema.gov.
Registration for the August 23 earthquake ends March 5.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.