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FEMA help still available for Ohio tornado victims, but deadline almost here

Representatives from local, state and federal level speak at a press conference about how to receive assistance from FEMA and other organizations following the March 14 tornadoes.
Shay Frank
Federal, state and local representatives discuss what assistance is still available to communities impacted by the March 14 tornadoes.

More than three months after tornadoes ripped through Logan and 10 other counties, FEMA is still here to offer assistance to the communities impacted.

On May 2, President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration which authorized federal assistance to survivors and businesses in Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Richland and Union counties.

"Lakeview is open for business, and at the same time we have to do things slow. It seems like forever, but we'd rather do it slow and do it right to have to go back and repeat."

The emergency operations center at the Indian Lake EMS will close 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. After that, applications for assistance can still be filed online or via phone through July 1.

More than $3 million in grants have been approved by FEMA to assist people in the 11 counties impacted by the March 14 tornadoes.

According to FEMA, nearly 400 households have been able to use these funds. Representatives have also seen more than 800 visitors at recovery centers.

FEMA Region 5 Administrator Tom Sivak attended a press conference on Monday, updating the community on FEMA assistance. He said FEMA has been working directly with community members to rebuild and provide financial assistance.

“As we've been here, we've seen that community members have been impacted. Here in Logan County, there's been $2.6 million in the hands of survivors to get back onto the road to recovery," he said. "And that's the most important thing that we can focus on right now, is getting the community members back on the road to recovery and most importantly, start focusing towards the future as well.”

The mayor for the Village of Lakeview, Elaine Fagan Moore, was also in attendance at the press conference. She said the community of Lakeview has never seen a disaster like this before but they are working to rebuild.

“It's about being resilient," Moore said. "Lakeview is open for business, and at the same time we have to do things slow. It seems like forever, but we'd rather do it slow and do it right to have to go back and repeat. And this is something that we're looking at for generations to come. It's just not here and now that we have to look at things from a futuristic standpoint.”

Anyone impacted by the tornadoes can apply for assistance through FEMA regardless of insurance coverage. According to Sivak, FEMA can not duplicate insurance benefits so individuals who are curious about what assistance they can still receive should apply before the July 1 cut off date.

Long-term loans are also available through the SBA with fixed rates for homeowners and renters at a 2.68% interest rate. According to the SBA, the organization has supported and approved $9 million in loans with more than 235 applications in Ohio.

The deadline for SBA applications is also on July 1.

"If you have questions, if you don't know if you're eligible, go to the Indian Lake EMS station, call +1-800- 621-FEMA or go online to disasterassistance.govand really just to ask those questions or register just to start that process," Sivak said. "We know it can take a little bit of work, but there's there's staff members that are at the Indian Lake EMS station until Wednesday at 6:30 p.m."

Corrected: June 25, 2024 at 11:09 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect dollar amount for the approved FEMA aid in Ohio. More than $3 million has been approved for households in all 11 counties.
Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.