Federal Emergency Management Agency teams will start assessing tornado damage in the Miami Valley.

Local FEMA centers remain open on Fourth of July holiday

FEMA will keep four of its Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) open on the Fourth of July holiday to assist renters, homeowners and businesses in Ohio affected by the tornadoes that struck Ohio on Memorial Day.

FEMA spokesman Leo Skinner says that remaining open on July 4 may make it easier for some residents to visit their nearest DRC.

“Sometimes it’s difficult for people to get off of work, so it may be easier for them to come in,” Skinner said. “We don’t want to interrupt anyone’s barbecue, but we think having them open will be a real help to people.”

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The centers that will remain open are located at Trotwood-Madison High School, Child Health Pavilion at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Shaw Elementary School in Beavercreek, and Celina Central Services Bldg. They are in operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

As of Wednesday, 1,104 people had visited the 5 DRCs located in Montgomery, Greene, Mercer and Perry counties. Skinner says that most who are now visiting the centers have already applied for assistance, which can be done online, by phone or in person.

“The majority of people that are coming in are coming in to check their grant for assistance. They can either call us or visit one of our centers to check the status of their application.”

As of Wednesday, FEMA had approved roughly $2.3 million in assistance and had approved 866 individual assistance applications.

Both FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are working to determine what assistance a person, household, or business is able to receive. Skinner says that it can be difficult for people to understand the type of aid they can get.

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“There’s confusion about what people may qualify for, whether that’s FEMA grants or SBA loans,” Skinner said. “The person has to work their way through the system based on whether they have insurance or not, or qualify for an SBA loan or not.”

Contractor Bob Westfall begins the estimate process for this home damaged by a tornado on Coppersmith Avenue in Butler Twp. during the severe weather outbreak on Memorial Day. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

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