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FEMA extends Michigan disaster relief deadline

The Detroit News

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Gov. Rick Snyder’s request to extend the deadline to Dec. 14 for Michigan residents seeking federal assistance for homes damaged in August’s severe flooding.

FEMA extended the application period 20 days from the previous Nov. 24 deadline. President Barack Obama in September granted Snyder’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

“The storms were devastating for so many Michiganders, and there is help available as winter sets in,” Snyder said in a statement. “Affected individuals may be able to get help recovering and covering damages from the flooding — from temporary housing and repairs to low-cost loans. But they need to register to be eligible. Don’t wait.”

The agency so far has approved $119 million in grants to residents in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Roughly 115,000 people have registered for grants.

“We are working to make sure every Detroiter affected by the flooding has access to this FEMA aid to assist in their recovery,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “We are grateful that our residents now have some additional time to register, but they shouldn’t wait. My office will continue its community outreach and we are asking residents to make sure that their friends and loved ones get registered, as well.”

People seeking assistance through the federal Small Business Administration also will receive additional time, with that application period being extended through Dec. 14, “though the SBA will accept applications for another 15 days if the applicant can demonstrate extenuating circumstances,” according to Snyder’s office.

Those who did not qualify for FEMA grants are eligible for 2 percent SBA loans. As of Oct. 29, the agency had approved $38.7 million in loans to individuals and businesses in the tri-county area for flood-related losses.

The loans or grants “do not affect a person’s Social Security, retirement income or food stamps (eligibility) because it is not considered income,” said SBA spokeswoman Adrianne LaNeave.

People can register at disasterassistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362.