Local News

FEMA extends deadline for disaster aid

Posted June 21, 2011 11:15 a.m. EDT

— Victims of the April 16 tornadoes have an extra two weeks to apply for federal disaster assistance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency initially set a Monday deadline for people in the 19 counties declared disaster areas to register for recovery aid, but they extended the deadline Tuesday until July 5.

North Carolina Emergency Management officials asked FEMA for an extension, contending that continued registrations showed some people were still assessing their damage and needed additional time to apply for aid.

"There are numerous homeowners and renters who have told us they need help but have not returned the (U.S. Small Business Administration) loan applications they received when they registered with FEMA," state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell said in a statement. "We think this is an indication that they just need more time."

As of Monday, more than 9,400 people in the 19 counties had registered with FEMA for disaster assistance. More than 4,900 SBA disaster loan applications have been sent to homeowners and renters, but only 16 percent have been returned.

State and federal officials have provided more than $15.6 million in recovery grants to homeowners, renters and businesses. State agencies and local governments received another $8 million in grants to pay for debris removal and infrastructure repair.

FEMA officials said they will continue to provide assistance after the deadline to people who call 800-621-FEMA or visit the agency's website. But the assistance will be in the form of directing people to churches and nonprofits that can help and not in any monetary grants.