Obama ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on November 17, 2013. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, La Salle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will, and Woodford.
Residents impacted by the storms can immediately begin registration for grants and low-interest loans. Businesses can apply for low-interest loans. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Since Nov. 17, Illinois’ emergency management officials have worked around-the-clock to expedite the federal request and direct aid into the communities as quickly as possible.
"This is good news for thousands of people in Illinois who have suffered so much," Governor Quinn said. "I thank President Obama for his swift approval that will bring much-needed federal relief to those who desperately need it in the wake of these deadly storms. I encourage everyone who suffered damage or loss from the Nov. 17 tornadoes to register for grants and low-interest loans that will help them rebuild their lives."
On Monday, Governor Quinn submitted a request for federal aid to President Obama to help tornado survivors recover from the disaster. At least 24 tornadoes were reported on Nov. 17. The request detailed the severe impact the storms had on communities across the state, including damage to at least 2,441 homes, almost 1,000 of which that are uninhabitable.
"We will begin working immediately with the federal government to ensure tornado victims can get needed help as quickly as possible," Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Donald L. Keldsen as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Available assistance to people and businesses in the 15 approved counties affected by the Nov. 17 storms includes:
• Grants of up to $32,400 to help with disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs, such as replacement of personal property, and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.
• Low-interest loans for up to $200,000 for homeowners to cover uninsured property losses, including repair or replacement of homes, vehicles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Renters and homeowners can receive loans of up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc.
• Crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and veteran’s benefits.
• Businesses and private not-for-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans are also available to some businesses for economic losses.
The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as trucks, heavy equipment to remove debris, communications equipment and assistance with security and other public safety issues. For more information about disaster recovery resources go to www.ready.illinois.gov.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.