Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Delaware Requests Disaster Designations for Hurricane Irene Damage

Requests To Federal Government Would Enable Loans To Affected Businesses and Homeowners In New Castle and Kent Counties, As Well As Reimbursement to Governments and Non-Profits In Kent and Sussex
image: state seal
Governor Jack Markell is requesting federal disaster status for Delaware in the wake of Hurricane Irene that will make businesses, homeowners, state and local governments and non-profits eligible for two types of federal help in different parts of the state. The requests are based on areas that met federally mandated thresholds for disaster assistance.
Gov. Markell sent a letter to the Small Business Administration late Friday requesting a major declaration of physical disaster for New Castle County. This designation, if granted, would make businesses and building owners as well as homeowners and renters eligible for low-interest SBA loans for repair and replacement. The SBA loans would be available both in New Castle County and in Kent County, since it is contiguous to New Castle.
If the SBA approves the designation as expected, it would open a temporary office in Delaware to help businesses and homeowners apply for the low-interest loans.
Only New Castle County met the criteria for the SBA designation, which is major damage to a minimum of 25 homes and businesses resulting in uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of the estimated fair replacement value of pre-disaster market value of the damaged property.
Governor Markell also sent a request to the President Monday for a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance funding in Kent and Sussex Counties. This declaration would make state and local governments and certain private non-profits involved in storm response eligible to be reimbursed for 75 percent of response, rebuilding, and cleanup costs.
The request for FEMA reimbursement for government and non-profit response was based on meeting federal thresholds of $1.14 million in costs statewide as well as $644,664 for Sussex and $534,024 in Kent. The threshold of $1.76 million in costs for New Castle County to be eligible was not reached.
These requests are in addition to an emergency declaration received by Delaware on Sunday, August 28 that provided direct federal support from FEMA for immediate response.
“Delaware was relatively fortunate with regard to the damage wrought by Hurricane Irene, but DEMA, working with other state agencies, the county and local governments and with representatives of both FEMA and SBA, have worked to identify enough damage to make some parts of the state eligible for some types of assistance,” Gov. Markell said.
Delaware did not reach a damage level in any county that would have allowed application for direct FEMA grants to owners of damaged homes, known as “individual assistance.” That threshold is 173 homes in each county destroyed or suffering major damage. The nearby states of Maryland and Virginia also did not meet the threshold for individual assistance, though other states with more extensive damage to homes from Hurricane Irene did.
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