A Disaster Field Office has been set up in Cedar Rapids to get aid to people in 17 Iowa counties declared disaster areas because of the storms and flooding that began June 3. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Kevin Galvin says the place to go first is your telephone. Trained people will run you through an application form over the phone and figure out what kind of damage you have and where they should refer you. Galvin says there are plenty of sources of aid depending on your circumstances. Farmers know they go to the USDA, businesspeople get loans through the SBA, but this is also for homeowners and renters. Galvin says some of the help now available is in the form of loans, and some grants that don’t have to be repaid. Most of that aid is the immediate kind of help for housing needs. He says disaster housing assistance is for people who had to leave home and pay for a motel, and those who made emergency repairs so they could stay in the home. Galvin says once you call the FEMA staff and get the application form for disaster aid, you might think it’s the wrong paperwork at first glance. Everybody gets an SBA loan form, even if they’re not applying for an SBA loan, because it’s just what they use to screen you for amount and kind of need. Galvin says FEMA won’t wait for that form if you’ve suffered a loss of housing from the storms.He says call about property damage and they’ll hustle an inspector out there in less than a week. The number to call is 1-800-621-FEMA. That’s 1-800-621-3362.
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