Tama County approved for individual assistance

TELEGRAPH PHOTO - LB’s Pizza in Dysart pictured shortly after the August 10 derecho. The restaurant sustained damage in the storm and was forced to temporarily close but have since reopened.

DES MOINES – On Tuesday, Tama County was approved for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program.

Gov. Kim Reynolds received notification 10 counties impacted by the Aug. 10 derecho were approved for the program.

Individuals and business owners in Marshall, Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama counties may apply for the FEMA Individual Assistance Program.

Tama County Emergency Management Director, Mindy Benson, has experienced frustration with not being able to answer questions from Tama County residents and business owners regarding FEMA assistance.

She got relieving news on Tuesday.

“Late yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from the State of Iowa letting me know that Tama County had officially been granted FEMA Individual Assistance. I sat in my office feeling relieved that we can finally start the healing process from this storm. So many people will also be able to regain what they have lost, homes, businesses, their lives again,” Benson said.

The program can provide disaster-affected homeowners, renters, and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement and medical expenses. Linn County was approved for Individual Assistance on Aug. 20.

Residents in the 11 counties approved for the Individual Assistance Program may apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. TTY users can call 800-462-7585.

In an Aug. 16 request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, Reynolds had requested 27 counties be approved for Individual Assistance. Through further assessment and validation by the state and FEMA, it was determined 16 of those counties did not have sufficient damage to be approved for the program, including nine counties which withdrew from consideration – Audubon, Clarke, Grundy, Iowa, Jackson, Jones, Madison, Muscatine, and Washington.

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program is no longer available in counties where the FEMA Individual Assistance Program has been made available.

In addition, damage in eight counties is being validated prior to requesting inclusion in the FEMA Public Assistance Program, providing assistance to public entities and select nonprofit organizations. The following counties will likely be submitted in the next few days for approval for Public Assistance Program funding – Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Keokuk, and Washington.

If approved, these counties will join 16 counties already approved for Public Assistance funding on Aug. 17 – Marshall, Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama.