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Disaster Recovery Center sets up in Boardman

July 17, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A temporary Disaster Recovery Center was set up at Boardman Township Center on Market Street on Friday last week. The center helped residents fill out applications and see if they qualified for FEMA grants or low-interest loans.

"Our mobile office is just extra help in hard hit areas," said Gerard Hammink, from FEMA external affairs.

While the center was originally supposed to be open four days, ending on Tuesday, a last minute decision now has it opened until further notice after close to 56 people visite the site to apply for grants and low-interest loans. The DRC at the Boardman Township Administration Building, 8299 Market St., 44512, in Mahoning County will remain open Mondays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. It will be closed on Sundays.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Application Services Program Speialists Michael West and Dan Abadilla were among the staff available at the Disaster Recovery Center in Boardman.

In the first four hours the cnter was opened, close to 35 residents stopped in and received help with paperwork. The temporary center also included a representative from the Small Business Administration (SBA) who serves as the clearing house for low interest loans.

Tamim Choudhury represented the SBA and explained the process that one must go through to receive any help. It begins when a disaster is declared.

The first step once a declaration is made, is to register with FEMA when storm water damage is experienced. Choudhury said this is the al-important first step that will help open the doors for relief.

"Homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profits should all register," he said. "Pretty much anyone who is affected by the declared disaster."

From that application, the applicant could qualify for free FEMA grants or could obtain the SBA low interest loan. Hammink explained in simple terms the difference between the two.

"FEMA grants help residents get their homes safe and inhabitable," he said. "The SBA loans help residents restore their homes to the way it was or better."

In the example of a flooded basement, the FEMA funds would help with mold and structure damage. It would not help replace a fancy leather sofa and display cases ruined by water. In other words, the FEMA funds would help make the home safe to live in.

The SBA loans would help cover losses by providing money for permanent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured or underinsured disaster damages to private-owned real and or personal property. Loans in this category are physical disaster loans that are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations.

The SBA also has economic injury disaster loans available to provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume. The law restricts these loans to small businesses, agriculture businesses, aquaculture and most private, non-profit organizations.

The FEMA grants that dont have to be paid back could even be applied for regarding a vehicle damaged by the declared disaster. Certain requirements apply, but repairs or replacement may be available.

Many want to go after the FEMA funds since they dont have to be paid back, but the Ohio Emergency Management Agency recommends applying for the SBA loans as well. In a press release from the Ohio EMA Office, it was stated, "If you are referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a low interest loan, fill out and submit the application. Survivors offered an SBA low-interest loan are under no obligation to accept it, but by not applying you remove yourself from consideration for additional FEMA assistance."

Before visiting a recovery center, survivors should register for federal assistance in one of the following ways:

Online at;

Use the FEMA App: or

Call 800-621-3362 (including 711 or Video Relay). TTY users can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Eleven Ohio counties have been approved for individual assistance following severe storms that took place in Ohio from May 27 through May 29. Those eleven include Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mahoning, Mercer, Miami Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry and Pickaway counties.



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