ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Governor Pat Quinn announced Tuesday that President Barack Obama has approved his request for federal assistance to help people and businesses in 15 Illinois counties recover from the Nov. 17 deadly tornadoes.
The announcement comes just one day after Governor Quinn submitted his request for Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.
"Just days before Thanksgiving, 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," said Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
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.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Donald L. Keldsen has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Keldsen said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
The following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's major disaster declaration issued for Illinois.
According to FEMA, assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
- Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans' benefits and social security matters.
Anyone impacted by the Nov. 17 tornadoes should register for the grants and low-interest loans they may be eligible for. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number (1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired) for victims to apply for assistance. Registration can also be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov.