OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Time's running out for Nebraska and Iowa homeowners, renters and business owners to apply for federal help to recover from this spring's flooding.
View from the upper level of a building as water inundates areas near 2nd Street and Pershing Avenue in downtown Davenport on April 30, 2019 (Credit: ABC/Twitter @2dorks)
Wednesday's the Nebraska deadline for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Iowa deadline is July 1.
Flooding from the March storms and snowmelt devastated farms and communities and ripped apart roads and bridges, causing billions of dollars in damage.
FEMA aid can cover home repairs and renovations, rental assistance, the replacement of ruined belongings and other disaster-related costs not covered by insurance. The grants do not have to be repaid. They average between $3,000 and $5,000 per household nationally.
FEMA spokeswoman Deanna Frazier told the Omaha World-Herald that homeowners can't expect the aid to cover all the costs of renovating or rebuilding.
"FEMA is not designed to make you whole again," she said.
More than 2,300 Iowa families have applied for assistance so far, and FEMA has approved $13.4 million in payments. At least 3,000 applications have been submitted so far in Nebraska, with $22.9 million in payments approved.
Some Nebraska entities have until Thursday to apply for FEMA's public assistance aid, which reimburses cities, counties, schools, tribal governments, and some nonprofits for at least 75% of costs associated with debris removal and building and infrastructure damage.
Wednesday also is the deadline to apply for loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Those loans have to be paid back, with interest.
Frazier is encouraging people to apply for help.
"This is not a handout," she said. "This is your tax dollars at work."
To apply for aid, go online at DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-3362 or download the FEMA app and click on "disaster resources" then "apply for assistance online."