SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN/KMOX) - The answer is again No from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a disaster declaration for the five southern Illinois counties damaged by a tornado and severe storms on February 29th.
“I am very disappointed with this decision and do not believe it reflects the reality and devastation on the ground,” Quinn said in a statement. “I remain committed to obtaining any and all assistance available to help our southern Illinois communities recover.”
Initially, officials said 400 homes sustained damage. In its appeal, the state raised that to 440 homes.
But FEMA concluded homeowners’ insurance, local charities and state funds could cover those costs. With a federal disaster declaration, people would be eligible for grants to help with home repairs, temporary housing, replacing personal and household items, crisis counseling and legal services.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency director Jonathon Monken says the state’s next step is to seek low-interest loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration.
Monken says while he’s disappointed, he knows FEMA has criteria and does not have an unlimited supply of funds. “Last year, there were more federally declared disasters than in any year previous to that… and we were the recipients of that twice, for a blizzard and a flood,” says Monken.
“It makes it very frustrating when you’re the one that falls below that line that’s set, because you feel like it’s an arbitrary line.”
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