Ohio storm victims look forward, without FEMA

MOSCOW, OH (FOX19) - Moscow looked very different on Sunday than it did a week ago.

Power to inhabitable structures was back on, phone service was restored and streets were cleared.  But even with all that was accomplished, plenty more work is ahead for Moscow.

The village that was perhaps the hardest hit in Ohio from storms and tornadoes on March 2, learned Friday along with the rest of the state that aid money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not coming.

The decision that the state of Ohio, charitable agencies, and insurance would be sufficient to provide needed recovery funds, did not sit well with many in Clermont County.

"We're obviously disappointed," said Art Owens, Chief of Fire and Rescue in Washington Township. "So now it's just a wait and see game. I hope we hear something from the governor's office, something in concrete."

As of Sunday, Owens says his agency has logged 700 hours of overtime.  FEMA aid could possibly have helped cover some of that cost.  Now, Owens says he's relying on the state to help where it's needed.

"The Governor decided it would really be in the best interest of the residents to move forward with the Small Business Administration agency-only disaster declaration that makes available low interest loans to residents and businesses that have been impacted by this event," said Nancy Dragani, Executive Director of Ohio's Emergency Management Agency.  "The SBA is not just for business when it's a disaster declaration. It also can provide repair loans for homeowners up to $200,000 and property loss loans - like furniture and appliances for renters up to $40,000.  It's a very low interest between 3.5 percent and no more than 4 percent interest. The stipulation though is it is a loan program, so people do have to apply for a loan and be qualified to receive the loan in order for SBA to be able to make the loan to individuals."

For those who either don't qualify to apply for an SBA loan, or, those who do apply and are eventually turned down, the state has activated its Individual Assistance Program, a grant program intended to be a "safety net."

But Ohioans affected by the storms should know, if they have a homeowner's insurance policy, they must first go through the claim process, and then can apply for a SBA loan, and then once those two steps have been done, they can then apply for the Ohio grant money.

Dragani says she expects to hear from the SBA soon, and then expects SBA representatives to be dispatched to Ohio.  Those reps will work alongside representatives from the OEMA.

Dragani says Governor John Kasich is committed to being there for Ohioans throughout the recovery process.

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