Mich. Disaster Assistance Surpasses $51 Million

August 27, 2004

More than $51 million in grants and low-interest loans has been approved for almost 34,000 disaster victims in less than two months since President Bush issued a disaster declaration in Michigan, state and federal disaster officials announced.

Almost 90,000 residents have already called to apply, but disaster officials are reminding victims who have not called that there are only a few more days left in the 60-day application period. The deadline to call and apply is 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 30.

Individuals and business owners who suffered losses in the 23 disaster-declared counties as result of the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding, which struck from May 20 to June 8, may apply for disaster assistance by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) special toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Phone lines are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and multilingual operators are available.

Disaster assistance may continue after the deadline, but victims must call before 6 p.m. on Aug. 30 to begin the process.

Those applicants who initially indicated that they had insurance should be sure to call the FEMA Helpline at the same 800 number listed above once they receive their final settlement. FEMA will need this information to determine if they might be eligible for any additional assistance for uninsured or underinsured losses.

In addition to almost $40 million in grants that has been approved, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has also approved 1,181 low-interest loans, totaling $12,690,100. These cover 1,081 loans for renters and homeowners and 100 for business owners. The SBA has issued almost 51,000 loan application packs, but less than a thousand have been completed and returned.

Applicants who do not complete their loan applications are excluding themselves from additional forms of assistance. If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred to other available disaster assistance programs, including Other Needs Assistance grants.

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