92,000 in Michigan approved for $110M in flooding aid

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The federal government said Thursday it has approved more than $110 million in disaster assistance for 92,000 Michigan residents hurt by the massive August rains and flooding.

The federal disaster designation provides money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offset the cost of repairs for more than 118,000 homeowners in the state. Parts of Metro Detroit were doused with more than 4½ inches of record rain — the area's second highest rainfall total recorded for a single day. Basements were flooded, motorists were stranded on water-covered freeways and building foundations caved in; two deaths were attributed to the flooding. More than 80 percent of the homeowners lacked flood or sewer backup insurance.

General Motors said Thursday that it had $132 million in charges related to flood damage at the GM Tech Center in Warren relating from the August flooding, but it is not planning to seek federal assistance.

Earlier this month, FEMA approved $63.5 million to 73,500 residents in southeast Michigan in the Aug. 11 storm that caused more than $1 billion in damage and wreaked havoc in communities.

FEMA is also working with municipalities separately to offset the estimated $16.7 million in damage to public buildings and equipment.

The agency also urged remaining residents to register for federal assistance before the Nov. 24 deadline. Applications must be received by then to be considered for assistance from the FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration,

"One month may seem like a long time but it's surprising how fast it can slip by, especially at this time of the year," said Michigan State Police Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, state coordinating officer and deputy state director of emergency management and homeland security. "Michiganders who have not registered should do so today, so we can see how we may help."

Storm-affected homeowners and renters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are eligible to apply for federal grants to help cover various disaster-related expenses including essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by personal insurance.

"Thousands of Michigan residents are putting state and federal recovery assistance to good use toward their recovery," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Dolph A. Diemont. "We urge survivors who have not registered to do so before the deadline."

Homeowners are eligible to apply for SBA low-interest loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged primary homes. Other aid includes loans up to $40,000 for replacement of personal property including cars for homeowners and renters; up to $2 million to repair or replace storm-damaged property for businesses and nonprofits; and working capital loans for small businesses and private nonprofits.

How to get help

Residents can register for Individual Assistance or check the status of their registrations online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, via smartphone at m.fema.gov, by calling (800) 621-3362 or 800-462-7585 for TTY users. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services may call (800) 621-3362.

FEMA phone lines operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.