Approximately one month after the presidential disaster declaration, more than $2.7 million in state and federal disaster aid has been approved to help the residents and business owners in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recover from losses resulting from the severe storms and flooding on October.
Residents and business owners with flood-related losses must call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to be eligible for state/FEMA disaster assistance. Hearing and speech impaired individuals should call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines are open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov.
The following is a brief snapshot of disaster recovery efforts as of Dec. 12:
* To date, 1,940 applicants from the nine declared counties have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for state and federal aid.
* More than 61 percent of these applicants have been approved for grants available through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) totaling $2,713,707.
– IHP grants for Housing Assistance to help with temporary housing and essential home repairs total approximately $2.7 million for 1,187 eligible applicants.
– IHP grants for Other Needs Assistance to help meet serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other programs total $296,311 for 210 approved applicants. Serious needs include personal property replacement, along with moving and storage, transportation and other necessary expenses.
* The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued 1,848 low-interest disaster loan applications: 1609 are for low-interest home repair/personal property loans to homeowners and renters, along with 239 business loan applications.
* The Commonwealth and FEMA opened eight Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to provide opportunities for flood-affected residents to meet face-to-face with disaster recovery officials. The last DRC closed December 8. In all the eight DRCs handled 327 visitors while open. The main issues were SBA loan packet information and questions about how to register for assistance.
* In addition, the Commonwealth and FEMA received 163 requests for Public Assistance (PA). The PA Program reimburses state and local government agencies and certain non-profits for eligible, disaster-related costs and losses. Among those eligible costs are debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair or restoration of disaster-damaged public infrastructure.
FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs. The non-federal share is made up from other sources. The Commonwealth administers the PA program.
“Those affected have until January 9, 2005, to resister for state and federal disaster assistance,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Peter Martinasco of FEMA. “We will continue to reach out to every homeowner, renter and business with uninsured and underinsured costs to help them recover from the flooding.”
Commonwealth Coordinating Officer Cristine McCombs, acting director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), said that recovery specialists are making every effort to ensure that area residents with flood-related damages apply for aid.
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