CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Disaster assistance grants approved for homeowners and renters affected by June 22-29 severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides, has reached more than $46.4 million, less than a month after President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for West Virginia.
That total includes Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) grants of nearly $27.5 million in housing assistance, more than $5 million in other needs assistance and $924,000 in public assistance. In addition, more than $13 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have been provided to West Virginians.
Nearly 7,600 households and businesses have registered with the FEMA to date. Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement, and serious disaster-related needs.
FEMA Public Assistance Grants provide funding to state, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of private, non-profit organizations. These monies help communities quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the president.
The SBA, one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, approved 200 low-interest disaster loans to businesses, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. SBA has staff on hand at all FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to assist survivors, one-on-one.
In addition, the SBA operates three Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) to enable storm-impacted businesses to meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan can help them recover.
The BRCs are located at:
Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corp.
804 Industrial Park, Suite 5
Maxwelton, WV 24957
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Charleston Area Alliance
1116 Smith St.
Charleston, WV 25301
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summersville Village Hall
400 N. Broad St.
Summersville, WV 26651
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Federal disaster assistance for homeowners, renters and businesses is now available to residents of 12 counties: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, and Webster.
FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed nearly 6,000 inspections of disaster-damaged properties to verify damage. Currently, there are 17 inspectors in the field.
FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585.) The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
In support of the State of West Virginia, FEMA has deployed 144 Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) personnel to canvass storm-damaged neighborhoods. To date, 15 teams of DSA workers have visited 12,325 homes in severely storm-damaged neighborhoods. They are equipped to register survivors with FEMA and answer their questions about disaster assistance.
The State and FEMA operate Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in the affected areas. The centers report 5,017 visitors to date. DRCs are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sundays. An easy-to-use DRC Locator is available at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm
Other help available to individuals:
For those who lost work as a result of the storms, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available. New claims for DUA must be filed within 30 days of the date of the announcement of availability of DUA, according to the following schedule:
- July 27, 2016: Greenbrier, Kanawha and Nicholas Counties.
- July 29, 2016: Clay, Fayette, Monroe, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster Counties.
- August 4, 2016: Jackson and Lincoln Counties.
For more information, visit Work Force West Virginia at workforcewv.org
- Free disaster legal assistance is available to West Virginia storm survivors. This service offers counseling on insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home-repair contracts, the replacement of legal documents destroyed by the storm and other legal matters. Call the toll-free hotline 877-331-4279.
- Survivors may be eligible for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (D-SNAP) benefits through the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. D-SNAP benefits can be used to buy food, but cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, tobacco or non-food items. Storm survivors can apply for these benefits from July 25 through 31. More information is available at www.dhhr.wv.gov
Disaster assistance grants from FEMA are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. Disaster grants are just that – grants that do not have to be paid back to the government.