Friday, August 29, 2014
   
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FEMA urges people to register for flood damage

Disaster recovery center in North Platte.

People affected by spring floods may hesitate to register for help but situations can change.

“They may think their neighbors need it more or they’re self-sufficient,” said Cindy Kimber, a public information officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Kimber’s territory is Lincoln County, where a disaster recovery office in North Platte will close on Oct. 5.

The office, in the Westfield Shopping Center at 1827 A. St., is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Specialists are available to help flood victims or provide information about how to mitigate future flooding.

Property owners affected by flooding in the county may be eligible for grants because Lincoln County was declared a federal disaster area.

Kimber urged property owners to register for assistance by the Oct. 11 deadline to “keep the door open.”

“Complete and return the application even if you don’t want a loan or because it was turned down. It can open the door for other needs assistance,” she said.

She noted that FEMA funds are not for a complete replacement of a dwelling but to make it safe, sanitary and secure.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of the assistance available and everyone entitled to receive it,” Kimber said.

Kimber said property owners need to register with FEMA even if they have registered, applied for filed a claim with another agency, volunteer organization or reported damage to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency hot line.

After registering, she said property owners may receive notification that they won’t get funds.

“It may not be a final determination so be sure and read the letter,” Kimber said. “FEMA may need more information.”

In addition to property damage, FEMA helps homeowners and renters displaced by flooding through housing assistance.

Assistance may include temporary housing assistance such as lodging reimbursement or money to rent another place to live.

With water finally receding along the Platte River, she said most property that was once inaccessible can now be accessed.

“So if an inspector couldn’t get in before, be sure to request a re-inspection,” Kimber said.

FEMA inspectors will then look at disaster-related damage and if a home or business owner qualifies for assistance, he or she will receive a check or direct deposit to a bank account with an explanation of how the money can be used.

Kimber noted that the Small Business Administration offers low-interest loans to home and business owners, renters and private and non--profit organizations.

SBA loans are available for the repair or replacement of real estate or personal property.

“You may borrow 20% of identified real estate damages to spend on things that will help mitigate future damage,” she said.

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