FEMA, SBA disaster assistance available

Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Iowa businesses and residents as a result of President Biden’s major disaster declaration, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced.


The declaration covers Adair, Montgomery, Polk, and Story counties as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that occurred May 20-21.


“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Iowa’s small businesses and residents impacted by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding,” said Administrator Guzman. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”


Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize disaster damage from occurring in the future.


For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.


Disaster loans up to $500,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $100,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including personal vehicles.


Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 3.25 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 2.688 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.


Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the date of the first disaster loan disbursement. SBA disaster loan repayment begins 12 months from the date of the first disbursement.


As soon as Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected area, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants. Additional information and details on the location of disaster recovery centers is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800)  659-2955.


Additionally, President Joe Biden approved Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration for severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck Montgomery County May 21.


FEMA funding is now available to homeowners and renters there.

A declaration was announced earlier this month for homeowners and renters in Mills County for severe storms and tornadoes April 26-27.

FEMA can provide money to eligible applicants for help with serious needs, paying for a temporary place to live, home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance.


Residents are encouraged to apply online and upload documents before visiting a DRC.


DRCs open to assist Iowans. Recovery specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration at the centers will provide information on available services, explain assistance programs and help survivors complete or check the status of their applications.
Learn more at FEMA.gov/disaster


Disaster Recovery Center locations:
Pottawattamie County DRC
Minden Fire Department parking lot
207 Main Street
Minden, Iowa 51553


Shelby County DRC
Shelby County Chamber of Commerce
1901 Hawkeye Ave. Suite 101
Harlan, Iowa 51537
Hours of operation:
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The centers are a one-stop shop where storm survivors can talk face-to-face with disaster recovery specialists to learn more about state/federal resources and/or to check on the status of a FEMA registration. Iowans may also visit DRCs in Nebraska at the Douglas or Washington county locations:


Douglas County DRC
Omaha Police Department Community Room C116 20924 Cumberland Dr Elkhorn, NE 68022
Hours of operation:
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting May 28



Here’s how to apply for FEMA assistance:
• Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
• Download and use the FEMA app
• Call FEMA directly at 800-621-FEMA (3362)
Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service. Click here for an accessible video on three ways to apply for FEMA assistance.

Have this information ready when you apply with FEMA:


• Only one registration per household is needed. When you apply, please have the following information available:
• Address with ZIP code.
• Condition of your damaged home.
• Basic list of your property damage, losses and needs.
• Insurance policy information, including the policy number.
• Social Security number of one member of the household.
• Phone number where you can be contacted.
• Address where you can get mail or an email address.
• Bank account information for direct deposit of funds.


FEMA offers a variety of help for Iowans after tornadoes and storms.


Money provided by FEMA does not have to be repaid and may include:
• Serious Needs: Money for lifesaving and life-sustaining items, including water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, breastfeeding supplies, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation.
• Housing expenses: Money you can use to stay in a hotel or motel, stay with family or friends, or for any other available housing options if you can’t return home following a disaster.
• Home Repair or Replacement: Money to help you repair or replace your home damaged by the disaster. The money can also help with pre-existing damage to parts of your home where the disaster caused further damage.
• Rental Assistance: Money you can use to rent housing if you are displaced from your home because of the disaster.
• Personal Property: Money to help you repair or replace appliances, room furnishings, and a personal or family computer damaged by the disaster. This can also include money for books, uniforms, tools, additional computers and other items required for school or work, including self-employment.
• Child Care: Money to help you pay for increased or child care expenses caused by the disaster.
• Transportation: Money to help you repair or replace a vehicle damaged by the disaster when you don’t have another vehicle you can use.
• Moving and Storage Expenses: Money to help you move and store personal property from your home to prevent additional damage.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are canvassing neighborhoods affected by both disasters in coordination with state and county emergency management to help homeowners and renters apply with FEMA and quickly address immediate and emerging needs. They also can provide application status updates and referrals to additional community resources. Iowans should ask for official photo ID before providing personal information.

FEMA home inspections continue in Iowa counties
FEMA housing inspectors are working in all designated counties inspecting damage reported by people who have applied with FEMA for disaster assistance. Inspectors will call or text to make an appointment before coming to a home. They will display official photo identification. If the official ID is not visible, it’s OK to ask to see it. This helps prevent fraud.


In general, people without insurance will be contacted first. Applicants who have insurance may be contacted for an inspection after they send FEMA a copy of the declarations page from their insurance policy or settlement information.


Language translation and American Sign Language interpreters are available by request to ensure effective communication to survivors whose primary language is not English and survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Many legitimate disaster assistance personnel also may visit your property. This can include insurance agents, damage inspectors, state and local officials and FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff.
FEMA employees do not ask for money – or accept money – from disaster survivors. FEMA staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help with registration.


Apply with FEMA whether or not you have insurance
• Everyone with disaster damage should apply whether they have insurance or not.
• FEMA assistance is not based on your amount of income.
• If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, file a claim as soon as possible. Please stay in close contact with your insurance agency. Only damage and needs related to the storms of April 26-27 are eligible.
• FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance.
• Even if you have insurance, FEMA may be able to provide money for serious needs, temporary housing and any damage to property not covered by insurance.
• In general, people without insurance will be contacted first by FEMA home inspectors. People with insurance may be contacted after you provide your insurance documents.

The American Red Cross has financial assistance available for people whose primary home was destroyed or is unlivable due to the recent storms and tornadoes. If you have questions about American Red Cross financial assistance or other services call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

The Iowa Department of Labor is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) from individuals in Southwest and Central Iowa whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to the disaster. Applications for DUA must be filed by July 13, 2024.


To file for DUA benefits, you must start with an application for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by filing online at Disaster Unemployment Assistance Now Available for Southwest, Central Iowa Counties | Iowa Workforce Development.

Please visit these websites and follow us on social media for timely and accurate information.

• Iowa Emergency Management Agency: IOWA HSEMD | Iowa Dept. of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
• FEMA’s Iowa Recovery Page: fema.gov/disaster/4779


• Download and use the FEMA app


Social Media:

• Facebook, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: facebook.com/IowaHSEMD

• X (Formerly Twitter), Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: twitter.com/IowaHSEMD
• FEMA Region 7: twitter.com/femaregion7


Disaster Recovery Centers are physically accessible to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. They are equipped with assistive and adaptive technology such as amplified phones, caption phones, video phones, wheelchair ramps and other resources to help ensure all applicants can access resources.


Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 833-285-7448. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish and 3 for other languages).


The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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