President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster for four counties in Mid-Michigan due to the severe flooding caused by storms on June 22-23.
The affected counties include Bay, Gladwin, Isabella, and Midland.
With the declaration, the counties are now also eligible to participate in the hazard mitigation assistance program that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards. Mitigation measures reduce personal loss, save lives and lessen the cost of responding to and recovering from future disasters.
"The losses sustained by these communities have been severe due to the magnitude of the flash flooding," Governor Rick Snyder said. "This presidential declaration is an important step in our continuing efforts to provide assistance and help Michigan families and businesses recover from the effects of this disaster."
The declaration does not include assistance for costs incurred by state and local governments due to damage to public facilities and infrastructures because those costs did not meet the federal threshold for assistance.
However, Governor Snyder says he has opened the state's Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund, which allows eligible local governments affected by the flooding to apply for assistance grants for up to $100,000 or 10 percent of the previous year's operating budget, whichever is less.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance by registering online here, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA. Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
“We are incredibly excited to hear this news from President Trump,” says Midland County Emergency Management Coordinator Jenifier Boyer. “This declaration is a critical next step in helping our residents recover and rebuild after this event. We are still awaiting more details on how this decision will impact our recovery efforts, and we look forward to sharing more information with the community as it becomes available.”
Several residents at the Alpine Mobile Home Village lost their homes due to the floods.
Now, June Lampson's house is slowly starting to look like a home once again after the floods destroyed everything she once knew.
"A lot of people I don't think realized the impact if they didn't actually see it and deal with it. They ask, 'what do you mean you're not back yet?' Well, we had to completely rebuild," Lampson said.
She said the federal assistance will help so many people.
"It'll help us because no one has that kind of money sitting in the bank, waiting to completely redo everything," Lampson said.
Across the street from Lampson, Shirley Albach said after a month of staying with relatives it is time to move home.
"We're putting our home back together and hopefully we're coming home tomorrow. It's not done, but it's done enough we can move back in," Albach said.
Albach's home was destroyed from ceiling to floor by the floods. She said the president's declaration is the hope many families needed.
"I'm going to call tomorrow morning to see if we qualify. It'd be nice to recoup some stuff that we had to put out ourselves. It totally wiped us out," Albach said.
While further assistance will be able to make a huge difference to many families, Lampson said it's just the icing on the rebuilding cake.
"The community has really stepped up between Red Cross and other organizations that have come in and donated. Even neighbors have donated money and that's just fabulous people do that," Lampson said.
Unemployment assistance offered
If you lost your job due to the flooding you might be qualified for disaster unemployment assistance.
The assistance is available to residents living in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Isabelle County.
The assistance is a result of Trump's disaster declaration.
To be eligible you: Must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and Must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; and Must have worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or resume work in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland Counties or the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe within Isabella County at the time the disaster occurred; and Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or Became the major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household; or Cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government. You must first register for Michigan unemployment benefits before registering for disaster unemployment assistance. All applications must be filed by Sept. 5. You can get an application package here.
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