Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan on Wednesday joined with members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss how Detroiters can apply for federal assistance following damaging summer floods.
President Biden on July 15 approved a National Disaster Declaration in response to severe flooding Michigan residents faced on June 25 and 26. The declaration allows for federal funds to be used in the assistance of relief and recovery.
“We are basically six weeks out and this team (the Biden administration) has already gotten over $29 million in awards to Detroiters, almost $50 million in awards to the people of this region…,” said Duggan. “It’s nothing short of remarkable.”
Duggan was also joined by members of the U.S Small Business Administration as they walked Detroit residents through the step-by-step process of applying for assistance.
Residents can apply one of four ways: online at disasterassistance.gov, through the FEMA mobile app, through the FEMA Helpline at (800) 621-3362 or in person at one of the Disaster Recovery Centers.
Renters are not eligible for FEMA assistance because it is the responsibility of the landlord to make the required repairs. Renters who feel that they are in an unsafe living situation can contact FEMA to assist them in finding a new temporary rental home.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, was also in attendance to emphasize to Detroiters that while this process may be taxing, they don’t have to do it all alone.
“I don’t like the red tape, I know that…” said Tlaib. “There are so many amazing organizations right here in Detroit, some great partners in our local elected folks that are willing to be there for you.”
Tlaib referenced the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and their efforts to help residents file claims or appeals on a case-by-case basis.
The city currently has two centers both operating seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Golightly Career Technical Center located at 900 Dickerson Ave
- Kemeny Recreation Center located at 2260 S. Fort St
Both FEMA and SBA officials will be present at those sites to assist residents in applying for relief, appealing a denial letter and also applying for SBA loans, said Duggan.
Roberto Baltodano from SBA gave more information on loans available to homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits.
“As of close of business last night… we had approved 195 loans for a total of $5.8 million for Michiganders,” said Baltodano. “And our work is just getting started.”
Physical disaster loans of up to $200,000 at a 1.625% interest rate are available to homeowners for home repairs, physical property damage or damage to automobiles.
Renters are also eligible for up to $40,000 at the same interest rate for any property or automobile damage.
Other forms of loans are available and more details can be found at sba.gov or by speaking with a member of the SBA team located at either of the Disaster Recovery Centers.
Duggan also explained what to do should residents receive a denial letter from FEMA, which does not exactly mean that the resident is ineligible for assistance.
“There’s a lot of reasons you can get that initial denial letter and in many cases, there’s a chance to fix it,” said Duggan.
Residents have the right to appeal their denial letter online within 60 days and can call the FEMA Helpline for questions about specific appeals.
The deadline to apply for FEMA relief is Sept 15.
Duggan also took a moment Wednesday to relish in his primary election victory. After receiving 72% of the vote, he will go against Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams in the November general election.