Tornado victims urged to go to Trotwood FEMA center for help

Local and federal officials visited Trotwood’s disaster center Monday afternoon to remind residents that help is available as part of recovery efforts from the Memorial Day tornado outbreak.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner was one of four speakers at a press conference at the Federal Emergency Management Agency center.

“Our goal is today is to make certain that it’s working between the state, federal and local level, so that all the assistance that people are entitled to, they get,” Turner said.

FEMA representatives said the best way to find out what tornado victims are eligible for is to come to one of the FEMA centers.

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The FEMA location at Trotwood-Madison High School has seen about 800 people so far, and officials expect that to rise to nearly 1,000 people in the coming days.

“We’re here to help people to repair their homes to the point they are functional, safe and secure,” said Paul Ferris, FEMA representative.

FEMA also assists renters with a minimum of two months rent after an inspection. Those who need more help can re-certify for more resources.

The first step is to contact your insurance company then visit the FEMA and Small Business Administration (SBA) center at the high school.

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SBA offers low-interest, fixed-rate disaster loans for up to a 30-year payback for businesses, homeowners and nonprofits.

SBA also covers relocation and mitigation costs. The main goal of SBA is long-term recovery.

“If you don’t have insurance or not enough insurance, then we want you to contact SBA, come into our office, come to our centers,” said Dorris Evans, public affairs specialist with SBA office of disaster assistance.

The loans are time sensitive: Aug. 19 is the deadline for homeowners, renters and nonprofits for physical loss, and March 18, 2020, for businesses with economic loss.

Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald still does not know the total number of people affected or displaced, especially in the school system. The city expects to know more once school starts.

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“It is very challenging right now,” McDonald said. “It’s been extremely important that our citizens get their lives back on track.”

The city has spent more than $5 million in overtime for first responders and public service. Ohio has asked FEMA for more money to help the cities with these costs.

Turner and FEMA representatives said it is best to come to the center so case workers can walk victims through the process of getting the help needed.

“Don’t assume you are not eligible for assistance,” Turner said.

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