27-Aug-2019 / GI-Hall Co Emergency Management
City Of Grand Island - Hall County Emergency Manager
We have lots of questions about FEMA aid on this past flood so let's give a few facts, and I warn you, you there isn't lots of good news, yet. This is a long post so please be read it all....
Fact #1: Declarations Dominoes
The County has declared an emergency and Nebraska will be requesting a Federal declaration and the associated aid. That aid can come either as Public Assistance (government costs) and/or Individual Assistance (residential costs). That will take some time for the dominoes to fall. As of Aug 27 (the date of this post) no Federal Declaration has been made.
Fact #2: FEMA aid to Residents is Rare in Nebraska
Getting Individual Assistance is very rare, in fact the last March flooding events thru the July events are the only instances that Nebraskans have qualified for Individual Assistance. We have to be prepared for the likelihood that FEMA aid to residents isn't going to happen because it is a very rare thing. Also, if it does come, it takes lots of time. It was almost a month before we saw Individual Assistance for the March flooding and that was "expedited" due to the magnitude of the spring disasters.
Fact #3: FEMA aid to Residents is Complex and Mostly Loans and Small Grants
If we are lucky enough to get Individual Assistance for residents, then you have to register with FEMA and begin the process of an SBA loan and other documentation to FEMA.
WARNING: If you don't finish the SBA loan application, you get no FEMA aid. You are not required to actually take a loan, but it acts like a financial benchmark to establish your capabilities and limitations.
So, in summary, FEMA aid is not eligible for this event, yet, but we are trying to get it for you. No one, not even FEMA staff, will make any promises until the Individual Assistance is actually declared for this event. Second, FEMA aid does not come often nor quickly. Third, FEMA aid is mostly access to low interest loans and a little bit of grant dollars following a somewhat lengthy loan application process and FEMA review.
I hope this helps and we will be posting more information as it becomes available. Please continue to follow us for the latest updates.