FEMA: Continued housing benefits for tornado victims unclaimed by up to 1,400 households

Weekend events will provide tornado cleanup, food assistance for survivors.

As many as 1,400 households in Montgomery County may not be taking advantage of a federal program that can extend housing benefits for up to 18 months after the Memorial Day tornadoes.

Federal Emergency Management Agency records show only about 100 applications for the Continued Temporary Housing Assistance program have been turned in but as many as 1,500 could be eligible, said Mary Kucenski, a FEMA voluntary agency liaison.

“They can still get it,” said Kucenski. “They just need to complete that application and submit their documentation and their receipts.”

The assistance can make up the difference if tornadoes forced an individual or household into higher-priced housing, Kucenski said.

“If they were a renter and they were paying $400 and their rent went to $600, FEMA will pay that $200 difference up to 18 months,” she said.

Both homeowners and renters are eligible for the continued assistance, but it is available only to those who registered with FEMA before the Sept. 3 deadline and have exhausted initial rental assistance, which is typically about $2,500, said Michelle Gonzalez, a FEMA recovery program specialist.

The six-page Declaration of Continuing Need for Rental Assistance and required paperwork can be returned to FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program by:

• Mailing them to the National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-8055.

• Faxing them to 1-800-827-8112.

• Uploading them to your online account at DisasterAssistance.gov.

For more information about the extended housing assistance program visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362.

Chain saws, operators needed

Chain saw operators are needed Saturday to pare down big tree debris so other volunteers can cart it away and speed the area’s recovery from Memorial Day tornadoes.

“This cleanup is so critical to a community’s ability to recover because it’s hard to recovery when you’re looking like you are in a war zone,” said Laura Mercer, executive director of the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group.

Plenty of other volunteer opportunities are available Saturday at three cleanups from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at locations in Harrison Twp., Old North Dayton and Trotwood.

Skilled and safe chain saw teams with their own saws and safety equipment are needed at the sites in Harrison Twp. and Trotwood, Mercer said.

“We need trees cut up into manageable-sized chunks so that that volunteers can haul them to the curb,” she said.

AmeriCorps and Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers, CareSource employees, University of Dayton students and members of Team Rubicon are expected to pitch in large numbers for the Saturday cleanups, Mercer said.

Volunteers are also needed Saturday afternoon to help with furniture and household item deliveries to tornado survivors’ homes.

These and many other future volunteer opportunities can be found at MVStrong.org. To volunteer, click on the volunteer opportunities tab to find the sign-up genius.

Food donations goal of run

A 5k/10k run/walk on Sunday will benefit The Foodbank and those affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes.

“Many people in the Miami Valley are still trying to get back on their feet after the tornadoes,” said Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank. “We are thankful that the Dayton community continues to come together in tough times to help their neighbors in need.”

The race will begin at noon at Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena St. in Dayton. Admission is free but a canned good or financial donation to The Foodbank is suggested.

Online registration is available through 11:59 p.m. Friday at https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/Dayton/DaytonTornadoRelief5kand10k. Participants can register in person at the event.

Donations can be made on The Foodbank’s website, through the online registration or in person.

SBA loan center to close

The U. S. Small Business Administration announced that due to a steady decrease of activity, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Dayton will close next week.

The center at the Dayton Children’s Hospital Child Health Pavilion, 1010 Valley St., will remain open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

Low-interest disaster loans up to $200,000 are also available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage was Sept. 3, 2019. The deadline for economic injury applications runs through March 18, 2020.

Applicants may apply online via SBA's secure website at Disasterloan.sba.gov.

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