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Flood victims have to make first move for aid

July 09, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

Franklin County received a federal disaster designation Thursday, but those whose homes were damaged or destroyed by late June flooding will have to make the first moves to see if they are eligible for grants and other assistance.

"We can't start helping them until we know who they are and where they are," said Rita Kepner, a reservist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "They need to call first and register and give us permission to work with them."

People may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or online at www.fema.gov, Kepner said.

Whether registering by telephone or online, FEMA recommends applicants be ready to provide the following:

· Social Security number.

· Current and pre-disaster address.

· A telephone number where the applicant may be contacted.

· Insurance information.

· Total household annual income.

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· A routing and account number from the applicant's bank, if they want disaster assistance funds deposited directly into their account.

· A description of the losses caused by the disaster.

Once the application for assistance is completed, FEMA will issue an application number that should be written down and kept for future reference, according to the Web site.

Officials from FEMA last week determined that more than 150 mobile homes at three parks in Greene Township - Village Green Manor, Lincoln Dell and Northwood - were destroyed and dozens more damaged. Franklin County Director of Emergency Services Jerry Flasher said, however, that the damage was not limited to the mobile home parks.

"We need to get the word out to people. This is more than just the trailer parks," Flasher said. "There were people affected throughout the county."

Anyone whose home or property sustained any damage from the flooding should register with FEMA, Flasher said.

A disaster recovery center likely will be established in the county, but Kepner said people first should register.

Kepner outlined three possible scenarios for those whose homes were damaged - those whose losses will be covered by their insurance; those who may be eligible for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration to repair or replace their homes; and those eligible for federal grants to cover "serious unmet needs."

Those who qualify for an SBA loan will be required to purchase flood insurance, Kepner said. Grants to meet serious unmet needs essentially will provide a couple with a livable bedroom and one operable bathroom and kitchen, she said.




FEMA assistance



Franklin County residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by late June flooding and want to find out if they are eligible for grants and other assistance may call 1-800-621-FEMA or go to www.fema.gov.

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