The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened its Disaster Recovery Center in Morris Thursday.
The center is located at the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Station 2, 2301 Ashton Road. It opened Thursday and will have hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week for now, said Marquita Hynes, FEMA external affairs reservist.
How long FEMA will have an office in Grundy County and the other 10 counties declared major disaster areas by President Barack Obama is not yet known, said Hynes.
The center is to help those who have suffered property damage from the April 18 flooding. Residents of Grundy will be eligible to apply for grants and low-interest federal loans to help them recover now that a federal disaster has been declared.
To apply for FEMA assistance, people must call or register online first, said Hynes.
The centers are to provide a place for people who have questions or for information on additional resources, such as applying for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Some people just want to sit down and ask questions face to face,” she said.
To apply for federal funding, call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or registration can be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
If people call, they will probably be on the phone about 20 minutes, said Hynes, and a FEMA inspector could be at their home in one to three days.
If they don’t call, an inspector will not just show, she said. Even if a FEMA person came by their home when they were doing preliminary tours of the damage, they still need to register by phone or online.
It’s better to call then assume FEMA is aware of their circumstances, said Hynes.
Once an inspector is at the home, FEMA will find out what insurance is covering and what they are allowed to cover.
“If they are eligible for different assistance, a check could be to them within a week,” said Hynes.
Damaged items that people could receive funding for include water heaters, air conditioners, washers and dryers, cabinetry and drywall damage. FEMA reminds people to check their furnaces as well. Since it is warm out, people might not think to turn on their furnaces.
Eligibility is based on an individual case basis.
The timeline for funding also depends on how many people apply.
There currently has not been a deadline for applying, but there will be soon.
People with homes affected by the flood should not wait for the inspector before cleaning up their homes.
“If you see mold, take care of that,” said Hynes. “Just save your receipts, document and take pictures.”
Even if a home is cleaned up from the flooding, the inspectors are trained to see where damage was and with the proper documentation they will still receive funding assistance.
If a family is unable to live in their residence due to flood damage, Hynes said to keep hotel receipts as well.
The state is still doing preliminary damage assessments throughout the state to see if any more counties should be requested to be declared major disasters. Surveying for public infrastructure damage is still going on as well.