State and federal disaster assistance accelerated sharply in the past week with more than $10 million of additional aid approved for homeowners, renters and business owners in the seven federally designated Massachusetts counties. In addition, more than 5,000 new registrations have been received by FEMA in the past seven days.
To date, more than $36.5 million has now been approved in the form of grants for temporary housing, home repairs and other essential needs, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans to cover uninsured property losses for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties may apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for people with speech or hearing disabilities. The toll-free telephone numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multilingual assistance is available.
A quick look at recovery activities and assistance to date:
- Through the Individuals and Households Program, $34.4 million has been approved for housing and other disaster-related needs - in the form of grants delivered directly to individuals;
- Housing assistance of $33.5 million has been approved; and
- Other needs assistance of nearly $900,000 has been approved;
- SBA has approved 105 disaster loans in the amount of $2,106,500;
- To date, 22,779 people have registered with FEMA. More than six hundred applicants are registering daily;
- More than 95% of requests to inspect damaged housing, or 20,382 of 21,404 have been completed, usually within three days following registration;
- Currently , seven Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open six days a week (closed Sundays) in declared counties. A new DRC will open in Suffolk County on Monday, April 26 at noon, while the Thayer Library DRC in Worcester County will be closing at 7 p.m. and the Billerica Public Library in Middlesex County will be closing as of 5 p.m. this Friday;
- Outreach efforts include more than 26 FEMA Community Relations (CR) specialists, many with multiple language skills, who continue to work in the seven declared counties. They inform affected residents and businesses about available state/federal disaster assistance programs and distribute flyers in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian-Creole and Portuguese. CR experts make a special outreach effort to assist the elderly as well as the visually and hearing disabled.
The disaster designation applies to Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.
NOTE TO EDITORS: CHART OF ALL CURRENT OPERATING DRCS BELOW:
Locations and daily hours are:
Suffolk County (Opens Monday, April 26, noon)
Closing Friday, April 23 at 7 p.m.