Food assistance nears $1M -- Assistance sought for Hurricane Isaac damage
By JEAN L. KAESS
Nearly $1 million in disaster food stamp assistance has been handed out in St. Mary Parish.
The agency issued 2,188 Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards in St. Mary Parish totaling $970,779 in benefits through Sunday, according to Suzy Sonnier, Department of Children and Family Services secretary.
The program is an income eligibility based program to assist households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.
Eligibility is determined by federal guidelines based on an individual’s known or expected income, resources and unreimbursed disaster expenses during Hurricane Isaac between Aug. 26 and Sept. 24.
The Amelia site, which opened Thursday, is at the Amelia Community Center.
Applications are being scheduled by last name: A-M, today; and N-Z, Wednesday. This is a change in schedule from what has been previously advertised.
A site in Franklin is located at the Franklin Recreation Center on Gum Street.
Applicants at the Franklin site by last name and date are: A-M, today; and N-Z, Wednesday.
Both sites are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Applicants should bring identification and proof of residency.
A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center opened Monday at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium.
Between the original disaster declaration Aug. 29 and the close of business Monday, 1,339 St. Mary residents registered for assistance through the FEMA.
FEMA Region 6 Public Information Officer H.R. Holman said $1.07 million has been allocated toward housing needs in the parish while another $80,761 has been dedicated toward other needs.
The Disaster Recovery Office is where applicants may go for information about FEMA applications or other disaster assistance programs as well as for questions related to their cases.
DSNAP benefits cannot be applied for at the FEMA office. Applicants must go to the Amelia or Franklin sites, apply online or call the telephone number listed above.
The FEMA office will be open for two weeks or more, depending on need, said Duval Arthur, St. Mary Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness director.
The FEMA office is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., seven days a week as long as there is a need within the parish.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low interest rate disaster loans for home owners, renters and businesses. They are activated when FEMA is activated and are located at the Disaster Recovery Office in the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium.
There is no cost to apply, and the deadline is Oct. 30 for physical damage loans. Economic damage loans have an application deadline of May 29, 2013.
Home loans receive a 1.688 percent interest rate, while business loans have a 4 percent interest rate, and non-profit organizations are granted a 3 percent rate. Economic injury loans for businesses and small agricultural cooperatives have a 4 percent loan rate while non-profits have a 3 percent rate.
Home loans can be up to a maximum of $200,000 with $40,000 in personal property loss. Businesses can receive up to $2 million.
Those interested in applying for an SBA loan must begin by registering with FEMA.
Homeowners and renters should submit disaster loan applications, even if they are not sure they will need or want a loan. If SBA cannot approve the loan application, the agency will refer the applicant to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program for possible additional assistance.
Ways to apply:
—Online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
—In person at any Disaster Recovery Office.
—Call SBA at 800-659-2955.
—By mail at 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155-2243.