The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted nearly $3 million in individual assistance to flood survivors in Douglas County, about one-fifth of the statewide total.
FEMA officials gave the Douglas County Board an update Tuesday on local flood recovery efforts.
Through the end of Monday, 910 people in Douglas County had registered for individual assistance, Reginald O. Burt, a individual assistance specialist for FEMA, told the County Board. He said 778 had been referred for some type of assistance from the agency.
To date, FEMA had granted about $2.5 million in housing assistance to Douglas County residents, he said, and an additional $388,000 for other needs, such as personal property, medical and dental care and transportation.
Statewide in Nebraska, FEMA had provided about $15.4 million in individual assistance, and about $1.7 million for other needs through Monday, Burt said.
While not everyone qualifies for individual assistance, FEMA representatives at the County Board meeting said people can amend their applications if they find more damage in their homes than first noticed, although they’ll need to show documentation.
People who receive a denial letter from FEMA also need to read the whole letter, because it may tell them how to fix a simple problem with their application, said Brenda Gustafson, a FEMA external affairs specialist.
She said people often stop reading when they see the denial. But she said she has heard that up to 80% of denials are because of things that applicants can correct, such as a wrong digit in their Social Security number or some other technical detail.
People have until May 20 to register for individual assistance, although FEMA is urging people to apply soon and not to wait until the last minute. People can register online, at www.disasterassistance.gov; by phone, at 800-621-3362; or in person at a Disaster Recovery Center. The center in Douglas County is at 111 E. Front St. in Valley. To find others, go to FEMA.gov/DRC.
The Small Business Administration also is offering low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesspeople affected by the flooding.
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County Board member Mary Ann Borgeson asked about King Lake, an often-flooded area near Valley that was hard hit by flooding. People are worried that they may not be able to rebuild or receive any assistance for rebuilding.
Gustafson said FEMA is “well aware of King Lake and Valley” and is working with a lot of areas where homes are not habitable. She said it’s a complicated issue, involving state and local governments, and federal and local zoning regulations. She said FEMA has brought in a team of experts to work with local government and residents on the issues.