Weather Alert

FEMA sent individual assistance to 3,084 homeowners, renters hit by derecho

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted about 7,300 inspections of Iowa homes that were damaged by the derecho last August and concluded about 42% were eligible for FEMA’s individual assistance program.

“FEMA has approved nearly 3,100 households and already provided more than $11 million in individual assistance grants,” John Mills, a FEMA spokesman, said. “That money is helping survivors with basic home repairs, temporary rental assistance. We’re helping with lodging reimbursement and other needs.”

The Washington Post is reporting 19,000 Iowans who applied last year for FEMA’s individual assistance program got notices that they were not eligible.

“Right after the derecho hit and the disaster was declared, FEMA began accepting disaster assistance applications and people asked for assistance,” Mills said. “We don’t want people to rule themselves out, so when in doubt, we encourage people to apply for assistance.”

A homeowner or renter is not eligible for the program if the property is covered by insurance or they’ve received assistance from other government agencies or charities. In addition, the residence must also be declared uninhabitable.

A state report issued last fall indicated more than 200,000 private insurance claims had been filed by derecho victims and insurance payouts had topped $1.6 billion by last November.

Mills said the U.S. Small Business Administration has issued $27 million in disaster loans to businesses as well as homeowners and renters hit by the derecho. Some of those loans were to help with tree removal expenses on private property.

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