Assistance coming soon for storm recovery

Individuals and families can apply for recovery grants starting Sept. 26
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 4:27 PM AKDT
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JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (KTUU) - A state program designed to assist Alaskans affected by disasters will open for applications next week.

The disaster declaration made on Sept. 17 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy activated the state’s Individual Assistance program, which is designed to assist residents with expenses related to recovery from the devastating remnants of Typhoon Merbok.

Beginning Sept. 26, residents of the following areas are eligible to apply for State Individual Assistance:

  • Northwest Arctic Borough
  • Bering Strait Regional Education Attendance Area
  • Lower Yukon Regional Education Attendance Area
  • Lower Kuskokwim Regional Education Attendance Area
  • Kashunamiut Regional Education Attendance Area

Applications for aid can be made through the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website.

Grants provided by the state are secondary to any federal assistance that are available to residents following President Joe Biden’s approval of the federal disaster declaration made by Gov. Dunleavy. Applications must be made to federal assistance programs before any request for aid can be made for state funds.

Details about how to apply for federal aid will be made available soon.

There are three components of the Alaska Individual Assistance program. Temporary housing grants are available to both renters and owners of homes damaged or destroyed by the storm and offer up to 18 months of assistance for homeowners and three months for renters.

Housing assistance grants exist to help cover the costs of home repairs that are not covered by insurance. This funding is for primary residences only, and will not cover damaged fish or hunting camp structures or residences occupied for less than six months.

The third type of grant called Other Needs Assistance is available for those that lost essential property like appliances, clothing or furniture that was lost or damaged in the storm. It also covers some cleanup and storage costs, as well as medical needs not met by insurance.

The maximum amount that can be provided by housing assistance and other needs grants is $18,950 for each; temporary housing grants are issued based on the family size and length of stay.

Those residing in the regions eligible for disaster relief are encouraged to apply online, by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or through the FEMA smartphone app.

Individuals and families can begin applying for state aid online at starting on Sept. 26, while the state’s Disaster Assistance Hotline beings taking calls on Sept. 28. The hotline can be contacted at 1-844-445-7131.

The deadline to register for state assistance is Nov. 17, but a deadline for federal aid applications has yet to be set.

This story has been updated to include information about federal relief that is now available and to provide an updated hotline number.