Three more counties are now eligible for flood relief
The federal government added Thurston, Pacific and Mason counties to its disaster declaration for damage caused by severe storms earlier...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The federal government added Thurston, Pacific and Mason counties to its disaster declaration for damage caused by severe storms earlier this month, opening the federal checkbook to aid local residents, businesses and governments.
The declaration, issued Saturday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, supplements a Dec. 9 announcement that made residents in Lewis and Grays Harbor counties eligible for federal aid.
Gov. Christine Gregoire said a swift response by state and local emergency-management agencies helped FEMA expedite the disaster declaration. "I'm told it was one of the fastest disaster-declaration responses ever from FEMA and the federal government," Gregoire said.
As a result, homeowners and renters affected by severe winds and flooding in Thurston, Pacific and Mason counties can apply for short-term grants of up to $28,800, plus low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged residences. If found to be eligible, residents can get help replacing damaged property.
Owners of damaged businesses or that lost revenue can also apply for up to $1.5 million in subsidized loans.
Thus far, FEMA has issued $2.75 million in aid to about 450 households in Lewis and Grays Harbor counties, said Lynne Keating, a FEMA spokeswoman. To date, 3,400 households have applied for assistance, and FEMA has inspected about 2,100 homes to assess damage, she said.
Residents in the five counties can apply by calling 800-621-FEMA or online at www.fema.gov, or in one of two disaster-assistance centers open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The centers are at 1112 N. Second St. in Elma and 2100 N. National Ave., second floor, in Chehalis.
The Small Business Administration is also offering subsidized loans to individuals and businesses for long-term recovery. Applications for those loans are available after first contacting FEMA, said Alex Contreras, a Small Business Administration spokesman.
The state Emergency Management Department is still assessing damage in other counties, said spokesman Rob Harper. The state will hold meetings from Monday through Thursday to explain disaster aid for municipal and county governments and some nonprofit agencies.
Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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