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County eligible for federal disaster aid

The head of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for Harrison County. The declaration for the county was made Friday night, according to Bill Lehman of FEMA Public Affairs.
‘I’m down here to get the word out,’ said Lehman.
FEMA director David Paulison said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state of Indiana by President Bush.
A disaster assistance center was opened in three Southern Indiana locations, including one in Harrison County at 2201 Concord Ave., Suite 120 in Corydon behind Holiday Inn Express. The site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will offer services from FEMA, the Dept. of Workforce Development, Dept. of Insurance, and the Family and Social Services Administration. The center has representatives from FEMA and computers and phones available to complete FEMA applications. Or, residents and business owners can register online at www.fema.gov/assistance or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or, for the hearing or speech impaired, 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
‘It’s important to have people call in and register so people can contact them,’ said Lehman.
Food stamps are also available at the center today (Wednesday) through Saturday and Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to Shirley Raymond, executive director of Harrison County Community Services in Corydon. Eligibility is based on take-home pay and available money in the bank. Documentation is not needed; however, those applying will be asked to certify the accuracy of your statements.
FEMA assistance for affected individuals and families include 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.
Also available are grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional, as well as 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.
Workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals, may be eligible for unemployment payments for up to 26 weeks.
Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance are also available up to $200,000 for primary residences and $40,000 for personal property including renter losses.
Loans are available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Loans are available up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit 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.
Loans are available up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residences.
Two other counties in Southern Indiana, Jefferson and Jennings, were also made available for federal funds along with three counties in northern Indiana that suffered damage from extensive flooding following the remnants of Hurricane Ike.
More counties may soon become eligible for funding in Southern Indiana, said Lehman.
The Harrison County Council and Commissioners will have an emergency meeting today (Wednesday) at 1:15 p.m. with representatives from the Governor’s Office Disaster Center.

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