Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Less than a month after tornadoes swept across Illinois, more than $1 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant assistance has been approved to help those affected by the storms.
1,632 people have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.
In addition to FEMA grants for individuals and families, other forms of disaster assistance are provided by partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. FEMA often refers survivors to those agencies. Businesses are also referred to the SBA. Other callers may be interested in non-FEMA programs such as disaster unemployment assistance, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or legal aid.
The following is a snapshot of the disaster recovery effort as of Dec. 10:
• 200 households approved for FEMA grants that assist with temporary rentals and personal property loss.
• $760,124 approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.
• $334,766 approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
• 329 home inspections completed.
• 226 visits to disaster recovery centers by people affected by the disaster.
• Three disaster recovery centers currently open.
No matter the degree of loss or insurance coverage, survivors are urged to apply for help. They can use any of the following methods:
1. By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Assistance is available in most languages. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585.
2. Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
3. By tablet or smartphone, use the FEMA app or go to m.fema.gov.
Survivors who register with FEMA and are referred to SBA will be contacted with options about how to apply for a low-interest disaster loan. After being contacted by SBA, survivors should complete and submit an application, even if they do not plan to accept a loan. It is part of the FEMA grant process and can pave the way for additional disaster assistance. SBA disaster loans are available with interest rates as low as 2.25 percent and terms up to 30 years.
Complete an online application at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Call the SBA customer service center with questions at 800-659-2955. People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY can call 800-877-8339. For more information, visit sba.gov.
Posted Dec. 11, 2013