ATLANTA – Six weeks after a ferocious line of thunderstorms and tornadoes crossed Georgia, more than $7.48 million in federal disaster assistance was approved for homeowners, renters and businesses that were affected.
The assistance includes FEMA grants and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Homeowners and renters who had damage or losses from the Jan. 12 storms and tornadoes and live in Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Pike, Spalding and Troup counties have until Monday, March 20, to apply for FEMA disaster assistance.
Since the major presidential disaster declaration, federal assistance approved for survivors includes:
- More than $3.14 million under the FEMA Individuals and Households Program, including:
- More than $2.62 million in housing assistance ($1.32 million of that total in rental assistance)
- $512,134 for medical and dental expenses, childcare, moving and storage, and other essential storm-related expenses
- More than $4.34 million in SBA disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses
As of Feb. 26, nearly 2,000 survivors have visited Disaster Recovery Centers to get information and advice about community, state and federal agencies and other available assistance. Although six centers closed Feb. 25, the Spalding County recovery center in Griffin remains open to those who need help navigating FEMA recovery programs.
FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance teams interacted with more than 4,100 survivors, helping them apply for FEMA assistance.
Residents who still wish to apply may visit DisasterAssistance.gov; use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Help is available in many languages. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service. Helpline operators speak many languages and lines are open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language. For an accessible video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU7wzRjByhI&list=PL720Kw_OojlKOhtKG7HM_0n_kEawus6FC&index=6.
FEMA works closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides disaster loans. Homeowners and renters are encouraged to submit a disaster home loan application to the SBA even if they are not sure they will need or want a loan. There is no obligation to take all or part of an approved loan. If SBA cannot approve the application, SBA will refer applicants to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program for possible additional assistance. If the SBA application is approved, individuals are not obligated to accept an SBA loan. However, failure to return the application may disqualify the individual from other possible FEMA assistance and other grants or services.
To apply to SBA online, or to download applications, go to https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/. You may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for more information or to have a loan application mailed to you. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed paper loan applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The SBA disaster loan deadline to apply for property damage is Friday, March 17. The deadline to apply for an economic injury disaster loan, which provides the necessary working capital to help small businesses impacted by a disaster survive until normal operations resume, is Oct. 16, 2023.
Despite the various application deadlines, federal recovery operations are ongoing. FEMA is also working closely with Georgia officials to help provide storm survivors all assistance for which they are eligible.
Another FEMA program is Public Assistance, the agency’s largest grant program. It provides funds to assist states, federally recognized tribes, territories, local governments and certain types of private non-profits as they respond to and recover from presidentially declared major disasters or emergencies.
The program provides funding for debris removal and emergency assistance to save lives and protect property. It also helps fund permanent restoration of community infrastructure affected by a federally declared incident.
Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs. The remaining 25 percent is covered by the state, which determines how much of those costs are the applicant’s responsibility. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred the costs.
As of Feb. 26, 30 eligible applicants have filed requests for FEMA Public Assistance to cover repairs and rebuilding.
For the latest information on Georgia’s recovery from the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes, visit fema.gov/disaster/4685. You may also follow @GeorgiaEMAHS/Twitter, Facebook.com/GeorgiaEMAHS, @FEMARegion4/Twitter and Facebook.com/FEMA.