January 21, 2020

FEMA registration deadline moved to Jan. 31 - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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FEMA registration deadline moved to Jan. 31

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Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020 4:16 pm

Property owners in Madison and Lake County who want to register their houses, buildings and other property with FEMA in case they need help with flood damage have until the end of January to fill out the paperwork.

If they need in-person help, property owners in Lake County and other affected South Dakota counties should stop by their local FEMA disaster recovery centers before the end of this week because those offices are scheduled to close.

Jim Poppen, a South Dakota Office of Emergency Management official, said the registrations are intended to help people with individual claims for structural damage, including cracked basement walls, some home repairs like water-heater replacement, and other disaster-related expenses.

State and federal officials announced on Friday that the deadline for property owners to register with FEMA for disaster assistance after the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from Sept. 9-26 was extended to Jan. 31. The original deadline was Jan. 17.

In a press release, officials with the S.D. Department of Public Safety reminded the public that federal disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rent assistance, essential home repairs, cleanup expenses, personal property loss and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

File predamage appraisals by Jan. 23

Madison and Lake County homeowners who want to have their flood-prone properties purchased by the government through a FEMA program were told in December that they would need to meet a deadline in six weeks and have work completed that included a "predamage appraisal" of their homes.

The deadline for those appraisals remains on Jan. 23.

The property-acquisition program was outlined during a December meeting in Madison. Area residents were given information about the program by Todd Kays and Greg Maag of the First District Association of Local Governments and Poppen, who works as a state hazard mitigation officer.

Kays explained that the acquisition effort "...helps communities purchase flood-prone properties, remove buildings and maintain the land as open space."

The properties that are eligible for the program include land located in special flood-hazard areas and properties that have a history of flooding even if they are located outside of a floodplain.

According to Kays, property owners need a predamage appraisal -- which they would pay for -- of their buildings completed before the deadline, with the work done by a licensed appraiser. The property owners would also need to sign a letter of understanding with First District Association for grant-writing services so the association can complete the applications. They need to sign the agreement before the work starts.

Before First District staff start writing the grant applications, the owners will need to obtain cost estimates of certain expenses, including the demolition or removal of a house, leveling the lot, asbestos testing and abatement, and closing and deed transfer costs. The writers will also need photos of all sides of the building. The grant writers need the information before the Jan. 23 deadline.

Madison recovery center to close

Disaster recovery centers in three South Dakota cities will close on Jan. 17, including:

-- Lake County, 455 S. Highland Ave., Madison.

-- Hanson County Courthouse, 720 5th St., Alexandria.

-- Davison County Fairgrounds, 3200 W. Havens Ave., Mitchell.

The Madison disaster recovery center, located along the SD-34 bypass, is open this week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A fourth office will close on Jan. 18, at the Aurora County Courthouse, 401 N. Main St., Plankinton.

After the centers close, homeowners and renters with disaster-related damage in designated counties can still register with FEMA, or get other help, by visiting the agency online at DisasterAssistance.gov. People can call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY (ADA typed-text phone messages) at 800-462-7585. Phone lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and help is available in most languages.

FEMA assistance is accessible to people with disabilities. If a person needs a reasonable accommodation -- such as a sign-language interpreter, Braille, CART (computer assisted real-time translation) -- they should make a request as soon as possible. They can call or text 605-400-8878. Officials will consider last-minute requests, but they may not have the ability to assist those requestors.

SBA assistance

In addition, flood-damaged businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, and homeowners and renters are also able to apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA applications are available online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Residents and businesses can apply in person at any disaster recovery center while they are open in South Dakota.

To have questions answered or obtain center locations, people should call SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 (TTY), email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit the SBA's disaster assistance website at sba.gov/disaster.

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