Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Your Input Could Bring Storm Damage Relief Funds

The January 4th nor’easter that dumped snow, gusted damaging winds, and brought widespread flooding to coastal communities has had a lasting impact one which has also had negative economic consequences on businesses, individuals, and public infrastructure such as roads, seawalls, and sewer systems.

You can play a role which might help you and your neighbors - share a statement with your local emergency management office of what your financial damages were - this may help the state qualify for federal disaster relief funding. There is a possibility of assistance for individuals and business in the private sector too. In addition, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has turned its attention to evaluating whether the state and any of its cities and towns are eligible for a Presidential disaster declaration and associated federal financial assistance.

MEMA is working with state agencies and municipal emergency managers to determine eligibility for federal assistance under Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster programs – the Public Assistance Program, and the Individuals and Housing Assistance Program – and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Loan Assistance Program.

Although not set in stone as an eligibility threshold, FEMA tends to require that at least 300 to 400 uninsured or underinsured homes and businesses were heavily damaged or destroyed before it will provide disaster benefits to survivors under the Individual and Housing Assistance Program. FEMA will reimburse cities and towns, state agencies, and certain non-profits for up to 75% of their eligible storm related costs, including emergency protective measures.

Under the SBA’s disaster programs, eligible residents and/or businesses may receive low-interest loans from the SBA to assist them in making repairs to damaged property and replacing damaged contents/assets, or helping to bring businesses back online.

To receive Public Assistance Program support, total eligible storm related costs within the county must exceed a population based threshold established by FEMA. The county thresholds for our area are:

Essex County Middlesex County $2,734,825 $5,531,353

Once counties have met cost thresholds, the aggregate costs of these counties are calculated. These counties can be deemed eligible under the program only if the statewide threshold of $9,559,538 is met or exceeded.