Help for flood and storm damage drying up

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The deadline to apply for federal assistance in the wake of severe storms and flooding is quickly approaching.

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The deadline to apply for federal assistance in the wake of severe storms and flooding is quickly approaching.

Illinois homeowners or renters have until Nov. 17 to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA officials said they have been working hard to downplay myths and rumors that could discourage people from applying. For example, some people may not want to apply because they fear it could interfere with other federal assistance a household member may be receiving, such as disability. Others, say FEMA officials, think disaster assistance is a form of welfare or charity when it is tax money that has been earmarked for disaster assistance.

According to the federal agency, it has received 139,904 individual registrations from seven Illinois counties and $305.6 million has been approved for assistance so far. Additionally, 134,418 home inspections have occurred and $50 million in U.S. Small Business Administration loans have been approved. The deadline for loan applications, which applies also to businesses, is Nov. 17. And there is no obligation to accept a loan offer.

Assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repair and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or for homeowners and renters.

In Cook County residents can apply at the either the Cicero Public Safety Building, 5410 West 34th St. in west suburban Cicero and the Austin Area of Chicago (former Old Navy building), Washington Square, 4905 W. North Ave., in Chicago. Centers are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.  

Residents can also apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call toll-free 1-800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily until further notice.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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