West Siders affected by summer flooding can apply for grants, loans from FEMA

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Federal funding is now available to West Side residents and others living in Cook County who have been impacted by flooding that happened earlier this summer, President Joe Biden announced this week.

Austin residents are still recovering from record-setting rain and storms that caused devastating flooding in the Chicago area from June 29 to July 2.

On Tuesday, Biden answered residents’ calls for help and approved Gov. Pritzker’s Illinois disaster declaration.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

You can apply online now by going online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Rev. Ira Acree thanked the governor for requesting help from the federal government.

“At last, FEMA is here, and that’s the starting point, but this is just the beginning. It’s important that the follow through is tight, equitable and not bogged down by bureaucracy,” said Acree, lead pastor of Greater St John Bible Church.

“Faith leaders are pledging to part the waters of red tape by exercising vigilance to ensure families, business owners and residents receive federal help, to rebuild their lives in a timely manner. Our citizens whose lives were flooded with water must now be flooded with health, help and resources.”

State Rep. La Shawn Ford warned flood victims should be wary of con artists and criminals who try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft after a disaster. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers stolen from flood victims.

If a FEMA inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used to create a FEMA application without your knowledge. If so, please let the inspector know that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application.

If you did not apply for assistance but received a letter from FEMA, please call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. The helpline will submit a request to stop any further processing of that application.

If you wish to apply for FEMA assistance after you stop an application made in your name without your knowledge, the helpline will help you create a new application.

Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for payment. 

Be wary of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. FEMA representatives will have your FEMA application number.

Don’t give your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to your local police department or contact the office of the attorney general.

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