[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) and Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) today asked President Bush to declare Winnebago County and Stephenson County a federal disaster area after severe flooding hit the area earlier this month.
Durbin, Obama and Manzullo made their request in a letter to the President today. In the letter, the Illinois lawmakers supported Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s request last night for federal disaster assistance. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is now coordinating the state’s efforts.
“We are writing in support of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s request for a major disaster declaration for Winnebago County and Stephenson County as a result of flooding beginning August 7 and continuing through August 8, 2007,” the Illinois members wrote. “We respectfully request that you make the necessary declaration so that the residents of Winnebago County and Stephenson County can receive federal disaster assistance.”
If the state’s request for federal assistance is approved, communities could apply for Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Assistance. Individual Assistance includes aid to individuals and households which can include cash grants to help with temporary housing, home repairs and replacement, and other disaster-related costs. Hazard Mitigation Assistance includes funding for measures designed to reduce future losses to public and private property. Hazard mitigation opportunities are assessed in most situations.
Additionally, small business administration loans can be provided under an “SBA disaster assistance” declaration by the SBA Administrator even if the President denies the major disaster declaration and includes three types of loans to qualified homeowners and businesses - home disaster loans to homeowners and renters, business physical disaster loans to business owners and economic injury disaster loans to small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives. A federal disaster declaration includes SBA assistance under the Individual Assistance program at FEMA.