WASHINGTON (Michigan News Source) – Michigan’s request for disaster declaration for nine counties across the state for storms in August 2023 was approved by the Biden Administration this week, granting assistance for those affected. 

What happened?

On August 24, areas in lower Michigan experienced several storm fronts bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and seven tornadoes, which prompted Governor Gretchen Whitmer to request  a Major Disaster Declaration as communities across the state experienced infrastructure damages ranging from downed trees and power lines to overwhelmed stormwater and sewer systems. Several hundred homeowners also reported residential flooding, according to the Governor’s office. 

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“Michiganders have been working hard to recover from the tornadoes and storms that caused so much damage across the state this summer,” said Governor Whitmer. “With today’s federal disaster declaration by President Biden, we will get the resources we need to support impacted families, businesses, and communities. Michiganders are tough. We will get through this the way we always have—together.”

Now that the request has been granted, the state has access to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Individual Assistance (IA) for residents of Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

 “This federal assistance will supplement the ongoing state and local recovery efforts and will directly help home and business owners affected by these storms,” said Col. James F. Grady II, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and director of the MSP. “We encourage all affected residents to apply.” 

What are the types of assistance?

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Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, according to FEMA,  as well as low-interest loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.  

For more information on how to prepare before, during, and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.  

What about small businesses?

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However, those whose small businesses were affected, must seek assistance from another route. 

“FEMA is not allowed to provide disaster assistance for certain losses covered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans,” FEMA said in a statement. “The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to individuals and households to help with disaster losses. FEMA works with the SBA to determine if you may qualify for Personal Property Assistance, Transportation Assistance, or a Group Flood Insurance Policy.”

The organization admitted that it uses several factors, including household annual gross income and the number of dependents to determine if an individual should be referred to the SBA

For more information about the SBA disaster loan program, please call the SBA at 800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339). SBA information is also available at www.SBA.gov/disaster or by email at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.