Tornado recovery aid left unclaimed 2 weeks before FEMA deadline

Tornado Recovery

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Miami Valley Community Action Partnership is releasing an urgent message because they say not enough people who lived in multi-unit apartments are signing up for FEMA aid. They’re saying thousands of dollars are being left unclaimed and they don’t know why.

“We’re concerned because a lot of these apartment complexes that were hit were what we consider ‘affordable housing,” explained Cherish Cronmiller, president and CEO of the Miami Valley CAP.

She continued, “We can’t quite figure out what is keeping people from applying, if there is some concern about background checks or something, but FEMA is not looking at any of those items. They’re not the police, they’re not the FBI. People need to understand they’re just here to provide that assistance.”

Long-term recovery specialists say only 23 percent of displaced renters in total have applied to FEMA for aid so far. According to new numbers recently released by FEMA, in the Woodland Hills and Westbrook Apartments in Trotwood, less than one-third of displaced residents have applied for aid. In the Meadows of Brookville, and Salem Woods apartment complexes, less than one-fourth of displaced residents have applied. In Greene County, one apartment complex has only seen eight applications.

Renters can qualify for up to 18 months of rental assistance and more. Cronmiller is encouraging anyone who was affected by the tornadoes to apply, whether they think they need the assistance at this time or not.

“Maybe you’re with family or friends and you think you’re going to get back on your feet and be ok. It’s not worth trying to hedge that bet. It’s better right now to just go ahead and get registered and get some of that assistance. Because if you get that rental assistance then you’re able to use that money on repairing or replacing some of the items that maybe you lost, or helping you with transportation or a vehicle,” explained Cronmiller.

Recovery specialists are also strategizing how to move people into permanent homes to help the recovery process.

“In Dayton you can find a place that; between the cost of the house, insurance and taxes, could actually be lower than some rental amounts throughout the area. So what that does is eases the burden on the rental markets. So by converting some renters into homeowners, it’s a win-win for a lot of people,” said Cronmiller.

Cronmiller is encouraging people to apply face-to-face with a FEMA offcial in order to get the best assistance. That can be done at the Dayton Children’s Hospital up until August 30.

You can also apply online or over the phone up until September 3.

Any appeals can be done after that deadline but you must have filed for help before the September 3 deadine.

Click here for more information on the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership.

Click here for more information on FEMA assistance.

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