Stephenson County, Illinois — August 25, 2017 — Earlier this month the Stephenson County Emergency Management Agency submitted Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) information to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). IEMA has reviewed the data collectively and unfortunately, has concluded that under federal requirements the amount of damages sustained as a result of the northwestern Illinois flooding in July will not qualify for FEMA assistance.
There are two main types of assistance FEMA provides following natural disasters.
FEMA Public Assistance provides grants to governments and certain private non-profit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. For this assistance, the state must meet a threshold of damages of $18.3 million. The local government damages for this event are $7.8 million, which includes all counties in Northwest Illinois that were impacted by this event. While these damages are significant, they fall short of the amount needed to qualify for FEMA Public Assistance.
FEMA provides Individual Assistance to individuals and families who have sustained losses due to disasters. Individual Assistance IDAs have shown that the majority of businesses and residents affected by the flooding did not sustain major damages. As such, this event will not qualify for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. However, IEMA will request a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment for Stephenson County with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Assuming this assessment validates the data IEMA has received, IEMA will seek an SBA disaster declaration. If granted, the Small Business Administration would make low-interest loans available to qualified applicants to repair flood damages not only in Stephenson County, but also in adjacent counties.
IEMA continues to work with us during this recovery phase.