What to know: FEMA help in St. Clair County

Federal assistance is available to anyone in St. Clair County affected by severe flooding in July. You just have to apply by the deadline.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Monday that President Joe Biden has approved Disaster assistance to the population. It comes after nearly three months of rain of up to 12 inches Severe flash floods in southwestern Illinois and St. Louis on July 26.

Here’s what to know about application requirements and the help available to residents, business owners, and local officials:

When to apply for assistance

Applications will be accepted starting Tuesday, according to state and local officials who provided more details at a press conference following the FEMA announcement.

FEMA representative Daryl Drago said people will have 60 days from Monday’s disaster declaration to apply, including holidays.

What would help look like

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Administrator Alicia Tate Nadeau described the assistance provided to residents as follows:

“Individual assistance means residents can apply for grants — not loans — to compensate for damage to homes, vehicles, and personal property. They can seek temporary housing and emergency home repairs. Uninsured and uninsured people can consider property losses, as well as costs Medical and dental costs arising from the disaster.

Tate Nadeau added that the grants are “non-taxable income,” meaning they won’t affect benefits people might get, such as Social Security, Medicaid or food stamps.

She said the average amount an individual can expect is between $3,000 and $7,000.

The Small Business Administration will soon be coming to the area to provide information about low-interest loans to businesses and individuals as well, according to Tate-Nadeau.

Jackie Sewell, a resident of East St. Louis, said she attended the press conference Monday to learn how seeking federal assistance could be different for someone like her who owns two homes, one she lives in and one she rents as a landlord. She didn’t get an answer Monday, but she hopes she can apply for grants for damages on both properties instead of a loan because she doesn’t want the debt.

Sewell said her rental property is on Terrace Drive, where the water has taken days to recede and residents have yet to return due to damage and rot.

Where to apply and what you need

You can apply for help online at www.DisasterAssistance.govby calling 800-621-3362 or using the FEMA mobile app.

Disaster officials said satisfaction The center will also open somewhere in the eastern metro to help people with their requests in person. Meanwhile, Drago said people can visit centers currently open in Missouri for help applying for federal flood assistance.

Here are two locations across the river that are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday:

Here’s what you’ll need to complete the application, according to DisasterAssistance.gov:

  • social protection number
  • household annual income
  • Contact information (phone number, postal address, damaged home address)
  • Insurance information (coverage, insurance company name, etc.)
  • Bank account information (if you are eligible to receive financial assistance, funds can be deposited into your account)

Dragoo noted that anyone with insurance must file a flood damage claim before applying for federal assistance.

You will also need to provide documentation of costs such as completed home repairs or hotel accommodations during flood displacement, according to Dragoo.

How do officials hope to mitigate flooding in the future

Sewell said she also went to the press conference Monday to hear how East St. Louis officials plan to address issues with infrastructure, such as the city’s pump system, that she believes contributed to years of bad flooding. This time, I got an answer.

Clair County Emergency Management Director Herb Simmons said the disaster declaration opens the door to helping residents make federal funds available for mitigations.

“I know (Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chair) and I’m talking about some other areas across the whole county that have this ongoing problem that we will definitely benefit from in mitigating these issues because that money is going to be there that are those,” Simmons said. Low-lying areas, these are places that are prone to flooding when exposed to this type of storm. Those are the ones we’re going to target.”

This story was originally published October 17, 2022 8:50 pm.

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Metro East is home to investigative reporter Lexi Curtis. She grew up in Granite City, graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2014 and now lives in Collinsville. Lexi joined Belleville News-Democrat in 2014 and has received several government awards for her investigative reporting and community service.
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