July 21 is the new deadline for northwest Florida residents affected by storms and flooding to apply to FEMA for federal disaster assistance.
As of last week, 860 disaster loans had been approved, totaling almost $36 million. The assistance covers damages from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in the Pensacola area from April 28 through May 6.
Jack Camp with the Small Business Administration encourages anyone who has yet to submit an application with SBA to do so ASAP. The two area outreach and recovery centers in Pensacola closed on Friday, but you can apply a couple of other ways.
“Up to the deadline they can still get assistance by calling 1-800-659-2955,” said Camp. “Or they can go online to apply to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The deadline to return economic injury applications is February 6, 2015.
Businesses can also look into the SBA’s working capital program, known as an economic injury disaster loan. That’s designed to allow businesses to pay their ordinary operating expenses. Camp says changes made in light of this particular disaster should make applying more attractive.
After FEMA and SBA wrap up their work in the affected zone, they’ll review their efforts for lessons learned and how to better serve the victims of the next disaster. That includes a couple of other changes instituted as a result of this event.
“In the past, whenever someone registered with FEMA, if they were referred to SBA we would automatically mail them a loan application,” Camp said. “We are (now) going to contact people who have been referred to the SBA by FEMA, and find out how they wish to apply.”
State and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations in nine Florida counties – including Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa -- are eligible to apply for federal reimbursements under the Public Assistance program for eligible response and recovery expenses.
Camp says if there’s any silver lining to this disaster, it’s that residents likely will be better prepared if or when there’s a next time – starting with flood insurance.
Once again, you have until the close of business next Monday to apply.