ABSAROKEE — FEMA so far has paid out more than $300,000 to people affected by flooding in Montana, and the agency says it has more to give.
To navigate the application process and explore sources of potential assistance, FEMA, the Red Cross, and other state and federal agencies are opening in-person Disaster Recovery Centers across the flood zone.
“We help with a variety of different programs. It depends on what your needs are, what your damage is, what your requirements are, whether or not you have insurance," said Susie Breeding, FEMA disaster recovery manager. "It’s against the law to duplicate benefits with insurance so even though you file insurance you may still be eligible for other FEMA programs and other FEMA services, so we want everyone to apply.”
The Disaster Recovery Centers are open in several locations in Park, Stillwater and Carbon counties.
“We’re here to help and offer hope and referrals and other agencies are also represented, so we’re kind of a one-stop shop," Breeding said.
As of Monday, FEMA has identified 287 applicants eligible for individual assistance. Many claims are still in progress, but FEMA says $325,970 in individual assistance has been paid out across the flood zone.
In trying to find help recovering costs, Louise Porter with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says people may not realize how many options they have available.
"People never realize that during presidential-declared disasters, such as this one, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest rate loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes," Porter said.
What FEMA and the SBA stress: Apply early and apply to all of the options available at once. You don't have to wait to be rejected to try another option.
If you need help, the Disaster Recovery Center can help navigate all parts of the process and no appointment is necessary to stop by.
“We want you to come by. We’re here for Montana. We’re here for the people affected by the disaster," Breeding said.
Here is more info on when and where the centers are open:
The Disaster Recovery Center will be open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 9 at:
Roosevelt Jr. High School
413 S Oakes Ave, Red Lodge, MT 59068
Once opened, the DRC will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Additional Disaster Recovery Centers will open in Stillwater County and Park County next week:
Absarokee Elementary School
327 S. Woodward Ave.
8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week
Tuesday, July 12 - opening
Park High School
102 View Vista Dr., Livingston
8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week
Wednesday, July 13 - opening
Several Mobile Registration Intake Centers are also coming to the area. These locations will have Disaster Survivor
Assistance teams onsite assisting with applications, inquiries, updates, and referrals. Two upcoming MRICs include:
Fromberg Methodist Church
14 North Montana Ave.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, July 8; Saturday, July 9; Monday, July 11; Tuesday, July 12
Gardiner High School
510 W. Stone St.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, July 11 through Saturday, July 16
It is not necessary to go to a center to apply for assistance. If possible, before going to a Disaster Recovery Center
you should apply for assistance with FEMA online or by calling. You can do so in several ways:
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov and click “Apply Online”
- Call 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open every day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. MDT. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned phone, or others, give FEMA the number for that service.
- Download the FEMA App for smartphones or mobile devices
For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.
FEMA financial assistance may include money for temporary housing, basic home repairs or other disaster-related needs such as childcare, transportation and medical, funeral or dental expenses.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available for homeowners, renters, businesses and most private nonprofits to help with residential and business losses not covered by insurance. After registering with FEMA, survivors and businesses may apply online at SBA’s secure website https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela; or obtain information on SBA disaster loan applications by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for those with hearing loss) or online at www.sba.gov/disaster.