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FEMA and SBA Provide Assistance to Flood Victims

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Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office
Renters, homeowners, and business owners can apply for grants and loans to help recover from the recent disasterous flooding in the area.

Flood waters can reap havoc on a home or business, and cleaning up and rebuilding can be a costly endeavor. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are helping residents apply for federal assistance.

FEMA Representative Bill Rukeyser says the application process is relatively simple and there are plenty of organizations ready to help flood victims navigate the claims process.

"We want make sure that everyone who suffered damages in the flood  gets the assistance that they are entitled to," explains Rukeyser. "The important first step for them is to contact us to make sure that we have their story so we can begin the process. Even if you have insurance please contact us -- the sooner you do, the sooner we can see if we can get you assistance."

In addition to FEMA, many people may not be aware that the Small Business Administration also assists flood victims with financing the cost of repairs.

Even if you have insurance please contact us -- the sooner you do, the sooner we can see if we can get you assistance. -- Bill Rukeyser, FEMA

  "We are the government's long term lender for repairs and replacement of damaged property to businesses of all sizes, non-profits, homeowners and renters, and the key thing for this is to get registered with FEMA," explains SBA Representative Roger Busch. 

The SBA has the ability to offer 30-year low-interest loans to help residents and business owners pay to repair damaged property. If a resident applies for an SBA loan and is denied, that application is then sent directly to FEMA to help find the necessary funds. 

The FEMA application process is relatively short, and can be done online, over the phone, or in person at the newly opened Disaster Recovery Center at the Monroe Civic Center. Applicants are encouraged to apply online if possible to speed up the process and avoid long wait times. The American Red Cross and other volunteer organizations are also helping residents apply at the Disaster Recovery Center.

The SBA is also opening a Business Center at 3601 Desiard Street in Monroe to help alleviate the long lines at the Civic Center, and help serve business owners more directly. 

To apply for federal assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, call 1-800-621-3362, or visit the Disaster Recovery Center located at the Monroe Civic Center.

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