More that $4 million is disaster payments have been provided to aid Alabama applicants following Hurricane Dennis on July 10.
Federal and state disaster officials have received more than 11,000 applications for disaster assistance, which includes housing assistance and payments for losses from the storm.
Persons who were affected by Hurricane Dennis in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties can still call and apply for disaster aid via FEMA’s toll-free telephone line 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Applicants have until September 8 to apply for assistance.
Federal Coordinating Officer, Mike Bolch continued to urge anyone who was affected by the hurricane to call and apply for assistance. “The last person to call on September 8th will get the same careful attention that the first caller got.” Bolch added, “We will review every application and provide whatever help we can.”
Of the $4 million in assistance, half was for housing assistance, which includes repair of storm-damaged homes or rental assistance for persons unable to live in their damaged homes. The other half has been for grants for replacement of essential items lost as a result of the storm.
Officials say that in addition to those funds, 30 home loans and 3 business loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which amount to more than $600,0000, have been approved. Disaster loans administered by the SBA are an essential part of disaster recovery for those persons or businesses that have the ability to repay a loan.
Officials were surprised at the low rate of return for SBA loan applications issued to disaster applicants. They say that the application is an essential part of the process even if the applicant does not want a loan. If, based on the information on the loan application, it appears the applicant is unable to repay a loan, then they may be eligible for other forms of assistance that do not have to be repaid.
Alabama State Coordinating Officer, Bruce Baughman, said, “People need to return those applications; otherwise they are voluntarily taking themselves out of the aid process.”
The deadline for registering for FEMA assistance is Sept. 8. Residents of Escambia, Mobile and Baldwin counties who received damage from Hurricane Dennis can call the toll-free FEMA teleregistration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (CDT), Monday thru Friday until further notice. Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov.
While disaster aid for individuals is limited to the three counties, 46 lower Alabama counties were declared eligible for assistance to remove debris, repair or replacement of public facilities and overtime pay for police, fire and emergency workers. State and federal disaster officials are working closely with local officials to document and submit claims for reimbursement.
To date, 268 local entities have applied for assistance and disaster officials have begun processing those claims.
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