FEMA, SBA Extend Aid Deadline to Sept. 3

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Those affected by flooding from the storms over Memorial Day weekend will have extra time to apply for disaster grants.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the U.S. Small Business Administration have extended their deadlines to apply for aid to Sept. 3. FEMA aid is grand-funded and doesn’t have to be repaid, isn’t taxable and won’t affect one’s eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal and state benefits. The SBA offers low-interest loans to pay for home or business repairs.

To date, FEMA has approved $624,000 in grants in Mahoning County, the second-highest amount approved in the 11 counties approved to receive assistance, said Leo Skinner, external affairs officer. Montgomery County received the most at $2.9 million. Total FEMA grants throughout the state are some $4 million, Skinner said.

As of Aug. 5, the SBA has approved 72 loans worth nearly $1,845,000 in Mahoning County, reported Tamim Choudhury, public affairs specialist with SBA, in an email. That includes 66 home loans for $1.48 million and six business loans for nearly $365,000, he stated.

The SBA has issued some $20.4 million in loans throughout the state, Skinner added.

FEMA and SBA extended the deadline because some residents are still waiting to hear about pending insurance claims, he said.

The disaster recovery center at the Boardman Township Administration Building, 8299 Market St., is still open and will remain staffed until further notice, Skinner said. FEMA and SBA representatives have staffed the center since July 12. It was originally supposed to close July 16

Some of those visiting the disaster recovery center have stated they didn’t think they were eligible for flood insurance, Skinner said. FEMA disputes that, saying that Mahoning County residents are eligible for flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

As of July 29, 12 flood insurance claims have been processed for about $111,000, he said.

“We want to make it very clear that anybody can purchase flood insurance,” Skinner said. “Whether you’re in a flood plain or not, you’re eligible to purchase flood insurance.”

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