FEMA statement on individual assistance funding

EDITORS NOTE: The following is a statement from FEMA regarding out investigation into individual assistance funds sent to Colorado flooding victims.

FEMA disaster recovery specialists work one-on-one with survivors to provide whatever assistance is available through its Individual and Housing Assistance program. If people need additional help, FEMA refers them to other agencies and organizations.

FEMA provides financial assistance to individuals and families whose primary residence has been damaged or destroyed in a federally-declared disaster. People receive assistance based on the extent and nature of the damage they received, and on their housing and other recovery needs. Situations are handled on a case-by-case basis; each household’s particular situation requires careful attention.

Assistance can be available in the form of grants, emergency housing, low-interest loans, insurance claims and help from non-profit organizations. FEMA, the State and others also have programs to help with disaster-related legal expenses, job loss, crisis counseling, and even certain job-related equipment losses and transportation issues.

FEMA’s grants for repairs are meant to help with basic, critical expenses not covered by insurance – to make the home safe, sanitary and functional. The assistance is not intended to restore damaged property to its pre-disaster condition. For instance, assistance could pay to replace basic sub-flooring, but not for carpeting or other finished surfaces.

Housing Assistance may be available for people whose primary residences are rendered unlivable or inaccessible due to disaster damage. It can come in the form of money for repairs and/or assistance for emergency housing, such as hotel rooms or manufactured housing.

The amount of funding for basic repairs is not based on the applicant’s income, but upon reasonable costs to make the repairs. The legal limit for Individual Assistance for a household in this disaster is $31,900. No household can receive more than that.

Every survivor who registered for FEMA assistance by the Dec. 2 deadline received a letter informing them of their right to request additional grant money through an appeal, if basic repair costs exceeded the amount FEMA provided.

At this time, FEMA, the State of Colorado, local governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector are working to find resources to help not only individuals and families but neighborhoods and communities affected by last fall’s flooding disaster. We were all on the job when the flooding began, and we are all determined to stay here for as long as it takes. In addition to state and federal assistance programs, several non-profit organizations are ready and able to provide help to deal with people’s unmet needs.