One-Month Milestones; More Than 1,500 Register, Assistance Tops $1.3 Million

ATLANTA, Ga. -- In a fast-paced month of disaster recovery efforts, state and federal recovery officials pointed to on-going progress in bringing a wide range of disaster assistance to Georgia individuals, businesses and public entities hit hard by mid-March tornadoes and severe storms.

Recovery officials said that since the initial Presidential declaration, more than 99 percent of $928,100 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Households Program assistance has been disbursed to approved applicants. Approved U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster-related loans to homeowners, renters and businesses now total approximately $446,000.

The deadline for homeowners, renters and business owners in the seven declared counties to register for disaster assistance is May 19.

On March 20, President Bush initially declared Fulton County residents eligible for FEMA's Individual and Households Program assistance. Two days later, residents in Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Jefferson and Polk counties were declared eligible for the program.

In addition, Burke, Fulton and Jefferson counties were declared eligible for FEMA's Public Assistance program to help reimburse local governments, eligible state agencies and certain qualified non-profits for uninsured disaster-related infrastructure costs.

To date, 25 Public Assistance project worksheets submitted by eligible applicants are nearing completion. Each project worksheet spells out the project purpose, cost, timeline and other information. An applicant may have a number of projects - debris removal, emergency protective services, roads, bridges, public parks, etc. Approved Public Assistance projects are funded on a cost-share basis, with FEMA funding 75 percent of the approved reimbursement and the remaining 25 percent shared by the state and local governments.

One month snapshot:

As of close of business April 22, a total of 1,533 individuals, households and businesses have applied for disaster assistance.

Total assistance, including FEMA's Individual and Households Program and low-interest disaster loans from the SBA, now stands at $1,374,016.

FEMA's Individual and Households Program (IHP) provides assistance in two main categories, Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance. IHP approved funding to 328 applicants totals $928,100. Disbursed funds total $923,700, or 99.5 percent.

Housing Assistance helps pay for rental assistance, temporary lodging and housing repairs. Approved Housing Assistance funding to 288 homeowners and renters totals more than $704,700.

Other Needs Assistance helps cover personal property loss, medical costs and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance to individuals and households. Approved Other Needs Assistance funding to 144 individuals and households totals more than $223,300.

The SBA provides disaster loans to homeowners, renters, non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes. The SBA has issued 913 applications for disaster loans to individuals and businesses. To date, 17 homes and business loans have been approved for approximately $446,000.

During the first month of extensive disaster outreach, eight Disaster Recovery Centers provided face-to-face customer service to 630 residents from the declared counties. One-to-one help remains available to registered applicants through the Helpline option available at FEMA's toll-free at numbers, 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired. The Helpline, staffed by multilingual recovery specialists, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, until further notice.

In-person disaster outreach continues in Fulton County, where an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC), also serving DeKalb County residents and businesses, is located at City Hall East, 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue N.E. (fifth floor), Atlanta. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m ., until further notice.

FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed more than 814 of 824 requests to view reported housing damages (98.8 percent). Turnaround time from registration to inspection averages less than two days.

To date, 29 Disaster Unemployment Assistance claims have been filed for this state-run, FEMA-funded program. Disaster Unemployment Assistance claims may be filed at any Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. Residents of Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Jefferson and Polk counties must apply by Wednesday, April 23. (The April 21 deadline for Fulton County applicants has passed.) Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides benefits for workers who would not normally qualify for unemployment compensation, including farmers, farm workers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees, those who are self-employed and others who are not eligible for the state's program.

Residents with disaster-related damage are urged to register by calling FEMA toll-free 800-621-3362 (FEMA) by the May 19 deadline. Those with a speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 800-462-7585 to apply. Multilingual operators are available to speak to applicants. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, until further notice. Applicants may also register online at

Published on: 2008-04-24

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