FEMA grants $24,000 to county residents

From Staff Reports

Twenty applicants from Shelby County have been approved for about $24,000 following the May 2003 storms.

Following a major disaster declaration from President George W. Bush, residents in 38 Alabama counties were eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

To date, almost $11 million has been approved to aid individuals and businesses affected by the severe storms, floods and tornadoes during May.

Shelby Countians have been approved for $24,360 &045; $23,033 for disaster housing and $1,327 for other needs.

FEMA has received 5,675 applications for assistance from the 38 counties which included Shelby, Jefferson, St. Clair and Talladega.

Homeowners, renters and businesses in those counties who sustained damages and losses that were uninsured or underinsured have until July 11 to register for disaster assistance with FEMA as well as to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Association.

According to Gracia Szczech of FEMA, who serves as the federal coordinating officer for the Alabama disaster recovery, there are sufficient funds to cover eligible losses.

&uot;We want to encourage all affected residents and business owners in the 38 disaster-declared counties to apply for the assistance they may need,&uot; she said. &uot;Some people don’t apply because they’re worried about taking away from someone else who had greater losses.&uot;

Disaster assistance programs may provide grants for temporary housing needs and for homeowners to make essential repairs; SBA low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; disaster unemployment assistance; and grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not otherwise covered.

The application process begins with a call to FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA