Barry County now qualifies for federal disaster assistance

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Federal funds are now available to help individuals in Barry County recover from a tornado and severe storms that rolled through the area on May 10.

A disaster declaration for Barry, Jasper and Newton counties was issued by President George Bush and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on May 23.

"The disaster declaration opens the way for federal aid to start flowing immediately into the three counties," said Congressman Roy Blunt, who personally toured the tornado damage in the Purdy area. "Federal disaster teams now have authority to help families with money and direct assistance to begin the process of recovering from the damages of the deadly storms."

The FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. Specific disaster aid programs are highlighted below.

* Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.

* Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.

* Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.

* Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits.

* Low-interest loans up to $200,000 for primary residence, $40,000 for personal property and $1.5 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.

* Loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover.

* Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses.

In addition, counties and cities are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This program pays 75 percent of the eligible costs associated with removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in Barry County can begin applying for assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or registering on-line at

Other assistance

Barry County farmers can now receive disaster assistance through the Farm Service Agency's tornado Emergency Conservation Program (ECPT).

The purpose of the program is to provide emergency measures to producers who have acreage located in Barry County and who need help with fence repairs and debris clean up. To be eligible for ECPT, the minimum amount of eligible cost-share expense must total at least $1,000.

The sign-up period will begin June 2 and will last 60 days. If a producer started clean up or fence repair prior to sign-up, they must apply within 15 days of implementation or the application will need to forwarded to Washington, D.C., for approval.

Applications can be made at the Barry County Farm Service Agency, which is located at 76 Main St. in Cassville. After the application is made, an appraiser will visit the farm to determine how much damage can be cost-shared.

For more information, call 847-2111.

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