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31FEMA grants/MD/cl/kh/

FEMA has received 1,845 registrations for assistance: 771 from Winona County, 477 from Fillmore County, 264 from Houston County, 226 from Olmsted County, 65 from Steele County, and 42 from Wabasha County.

By Matt Russell

mrussell@postbulletin.com

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has so far awarded $1.4 million in disaster-relief grants to residents in southeastern Minnesota.

The money reflects approval of 232 applications for aid, according to FEMA spokeswoman Elizabeth Childs. The amount will continue to grow as officials process more claims and assess damage sites.

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The FEMA program is capped at $28,200 per household to cover costs related to items such as temporary housing, repair and rebuilding.

Taking the total amount of FEMA money awarded so far and dividing it by the number of applications approved, the average amount awarded per application is about $6,000.

That average might be misleading, Childs said Wednesday, because some people have been given money for a month’s worth of rent and might receive more FEMA money later based on the agency’s inspections of their homes.

The amount of an individual grant "is really a fluid number," Childs stressed, adding that people can contact FEMA and request more money after they find out how much their insurance companies are giving them.

FEMA has given 11 applicants the maximum amount of $28,200 in grants so far, Childs said. FEMA started giving grant money last Friday, a day after counties in southeastern Minnesota were declared federal disaster areas.

On Monday, FEMA opened recovery centers in Hokah, Winona and Rushford.

Seven counties have been declared disaster areas, including Fillmore, Winona, Wabasha, Houston, Steele and Olmsted. The most recent county to join the list, Dodge, was added Tuesday.

FEMA has also completed 366 inspections, Childs said Wednesday, noting that determinations on final grant amounts are still being calculated for some inspections.

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Residents of the seven counties declared federal disaster areas who seek FEMA grants can start the process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

The same number can also be called to start the process for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration, which has assistance available for individual homeowners and businesses.

For more information on the Federal Emergency management agency and the Small Business Administration, go to www.postbulletin.com/weblinks.

FEMA

http://www.fema.gov

Small Business Administration disaster assistance http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance

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