FEMA: Survivors in Two Additional Iowa Counties May Now Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance

Residents of Pottawattamie and Shelby counties now can apply for disaster assistance to help them recover from the severe storms and flooding that began March 12.

They join five counties already designated for state and federal help to individuals: Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona and Woodbury. 

FEMA disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and minimal home repairs as well as other serious disaster-related unmet needs such as eligible medical and dental expenses and replacing essential personal property. 

Those who live in Pottawattamie or Shelby counties who have already registered with FEMA do not need to re-apply. The registration is now active and being processed.  

If you have registered with FEMA and reported damage to your house, you will receive a call from an inspector to arrange for a visit.

Here is a step-by-step process to get started:

  • Document your damage – photos/video, list of damaged contents.
  • Contact your insurance agent to see if there is coverage under homeowners, renters and/or flood insurance policies. 
  • Contact your county emergency manager to report the damage you have to help them assess impacts to the county. This information may help your county to be considered for federal disaster assistance.
  • Call 2-1-1 to get connected with possible state resources that can help with immediate or unmet needs.
  • Consider applying for the Iowa Individual Assistance program. This state-funded program can provide up to $5,000 for individuals who have an income up to 200% of poverty level and who live in one of the 57 counties the governor designated for this program. To find out if your county has been designated and how to apply, go online to www.floods2019.iowa.gov and click on ‘Recovery Assistance.’

Register with FEMA one of four ways. Here’s how: 

  • Go online to www.disasterassistance.gov
  • Download the FEMA app on your smartphone (www.fema.gov/mobile-app)
  • Call toll-free 1-800-621-3362 for voice, 711 or video relay services.  Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, 7 days a week until further notice.  Multilingual operators are available. For TTY, dial 1-800-462-7585.  
  • Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). If you have relocated outside your home area, you can visit any open DRC, even in a neighboring state. To find the nearest DRC, go online to www.fema.gov/DRC

At DRCs, recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other state and federal agencies are on hand to explain assistance programs, provide information about available services, help survivors register for federal disaster assistance and/or check the status of their disaster aid applications on a face-to-face basis.

Iowa Disaster Recovery Centers are currently located in Fremont, Mills, Woodbury and Harrison counties. DRCs are located at:

Fremont: 2014 290th Ave., Sidney, IA, 51652. 

Mills: 111 Lacey St., Glenwood, IA, 51534. 

Harrison: 800 West Huron St., Missouri Valley, IA, 51555

Woodbury: 4647 Stone Ave., Sioux City, IA, 51106

DRC hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday in Fremont County, and 9 a.m. to  7 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the other three counties. Beginning April 21, all DRCs are closed on Sundays. 

Some survivors may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Low-interest disaster loans from SBA are available for eligible survivors. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits from other agencies or organizations.

Residents and business owners should apply immediately if SBA contacts them by telephone or email as part of the overall federal disaster recovery process, and they should not wait for 

insurance claims to be settled. There is no cost to apply for an SBA low-interest disaster loan and no obligation to accept one, if approved.

For a comprehensive listing of state and federal recovery resources, go online to www.floods2019.iowa.gov. 

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has faced discrimination, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362, voice/711/video relay services. Multilingual operators are available. TTY users may call 800-462-7585.

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