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With Help Deadline Approaching, FEMA Reaches Out To Survivors

Creative Commons/Flickr
Image of flood damage, Sept. 13, 2013

It’s been nearly six weeks since massive floods hit Colorado’s Front Range. Although cleanup and recovery is now well underway, emergency management officials say there’s still work to do.

Updated 11/4/13: FEMA has extended the registration deadline for assistance to Nov. 30, 2013.

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With a Nov. 14 deadline quickly approaching, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are stepping up efforts to connect with survivors of the September floods who haven’t yet applied for assistance.  

Fifteen Colorado counties are now included in the President’s major disaster declaration, allowing residents in the most heavily impacted areas to apply for federal help with temporary housing, debris removal and cleanup, and rebuilding.

FEMA spokesman William Lindsay says even though the flood waters have subsided, they’re still working to get the word out to residents in some areas.

"As the roads are opening back up now, especially in the more northern mountainous regions, our disaster assessment teams are going in and making sure that every person they meet is made aware of the recovery resources here in Colorado," Lindsay says.

Businesses and individuals – including homeowners and renters -- can also apply for help from the Small Business Administration. SBA spokesman Kevin Wynne says they have representatives placed in FEMA disaster recovery centers.

"It’s vital that everybody in these declared counties register with FEMA," Wynne adds. "We encourage everyone – whether you think you had damage or not -- let SBA and FEMA determine whether you had any damage."

FEMA officials say nearly 25,000 Coloradans have applied for assistance since the flooding, and the agency has approved more than $46 million in aid so far.

To date, the SBA has approved more than $42 million in disaster loans for 1,033 Colorado residents and businesses.

The phone number to apply for assistance is 1-800-621-3362. People can also apply online at disasterassistance.gov or by smartphone at m.fema.gov.

Counties eligible for various kinds of assistance include Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Pueblo, Washington, and Weld.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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