Federal Emergency Management Agency
President Barack Obama made an unprecedented stop in Framingham, Massachusetts yesterday. After a speech on health care reform in Portland and before two fundraising appearances in Boston, President Obama visited the Emergency Management Agency. At the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Obama met with Governor Deval Patrick to receive an update on the flooding caused by the El Nino weather pattern over the past few weeks and thank workers and officials for their dedication and efforts to combat the flood.
The President declared a federal disaster in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties. As a result of the federal disaster the Internal Revenue Service has postponed the federal April 15th deadline for filing to May 11th.It is important to not however that the extension is only applies to those who own a business or reside in the declared federal disaster area. For further information about the specific tax relief being provided, visit the IRS web site here.
Individual Assistance Programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) include individuals and households programs, disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, legal assistance, tax relief, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
Business and homeowners may apply for assistance programs by contacting the FEMA Teleregistration numbers: 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 for those who are hearing- and speech-impaired. You may also apply for the assistance programs online at: http://www.fema.gov. For information about the Small Business Administration low interest loans and other aid contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, 800-877-8339 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. SBA may also be reached by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.sba.gov.
Before contacting FEMA/ SBA pelase have on hand: your Social Security number, telephone number where you can be reached, address of damaged property, current mailing address, a brief description of disaster-related damages and losses as well as insurance information and direct deposit information to expedite the transfer of funds.
Governor Deval Patrick has written President Obama asking for a declaration of disaster in Massachusetts. This would bring federal funds to residents and businesses who have suffered losses from the recent storm and flooding. Patrick’s office has reported hundreds of homes suffering significant, uninsured damages; more than 1,000 experienced minor but still considerable losses; and many nursing homes have needed to be evacuated. Residents still question whether their homes are safe to live in after sustaining major damages.
His letter to the president cites the record breaking rainfall of 6 to 10 inches in some areas of Bristol, Essex, Norfolk, Middlesex, Plymouth and Suffolk counties. The letter specifically mentions the death of a Middleton resident while he was pumping water out of his business and hospitalization of a Dedham man injured when a sewer pipe burst while removing water from his basement.
“Floodwaters poured into thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses, forcing residents to evacuate and posing health risks associated with sewage backups and mold growth,”
–Governor Deval Patrick in his letter to the President
A disaster declaration may open a verity of programs to both residents and businesses according to Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Federal grants may be given to residents to make home repairs and replace heating or electrical systems. Federal funding may also help those who have been displaced due to flooding by helping pay for the temporary housing costs. Disaster programs would be made available to residents in Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth counties. Last week Federal Emergency Management Agency and state emergency officials inspected flooded areas to appreciate damages suffered by homeowners.
Although the rain has held off thus far Massachusetts residents are in for another trying weekend. Pull out your winter jackets and gloves, according to the National Weather Service temperatures are to drop today and tomorrow with a chance of rain.