FEMA Assistance For Those Impacted By Ike Now Available

September 15, 2008

FEMA has announced that federal assistance and grants are available to anyone who has sustained losses as a result of Hurricane Ike.

The following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available under President Bush’s major disaster declaration issued for Texas in the wake of Ike.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include:
• Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
• Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
• Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.
• Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals
• Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance
• Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million.
• Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.
• Other relief programs include crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veteran’s benefits and social security matters.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include:
• Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas.
• Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.
• Additional designations may be made at a later date after further evaluation.

Those in the counties designated for assistance, which include Harris, Galveston and Fort Bend counties, can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday until further notice.

Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves, insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses. Photos substantiating any loss, if available, can be particularly helpful.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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