WASHINGTON – As 2013 draws to a close, Governor Pat Quinn today visited the tornado-ravaged community of Washington to encourage residents to take advantage of the federal aid available for those impacted by the deadly storms on November 17. The Governor also signed legislation that is part of his commitment to ensuring the state does everything necessary to help families and communities across Illinois as they rebuild and recover from the historic natural disasters that have struck Illinois this year.
“As Illinois heads into a new year, many of our neighbors in Central and Southern Illinois are continuing to rebuild their lives after deadly tornadoes ravaged their communities,” Governor Quinn said. “Federal assistance is an important part of our recovery efforts and I urge everyone who suffered damage or loss to make sure they register for federal aid.”
Governor Quinn successfully secured federal aid for 15 counties just nine days after a record 25 tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state. The federal disaster declaration includes Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.
To date, more than 2,000 people in those counties have applied for assistance, with more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans already approved.
Anyone affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms is encouraged to register for federal assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) (for hearing and speech impaired) to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at disasterassistance.gov or by smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid is Jan. 27, 2014.
In addition to FEMA grants, disaster survivors may be eligible for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which were also made available under the federal disaster declaration.
The Governor today also signed Senate Bill 1955, which transfers $5.9 million to meet the state’s cost-sharing obligations with FEMA for federal funds provided in response to the historic flooding that impacted counties across the state this spring. These funds represent the state’s contribution to federal aid which has provided access to Individual Assistance grants that help affected people replace personal property lost or damaged during the disaster. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect immediately.
“We need to be there for people when emergencies and disasters occur. This law means resources are available to help people get back on their feet in their time of need,” Senator Kotowski said.
The Governor also recently signed House Bill 2778, which will allow more advanced life-saving equipment to be carried and used in emergency vehicles in rural areas where such services may be otherwise difficult to obtain. The new law allows the license of an ambulance operated in a rural area to be upgraded to reflect that of the staff member with the highest Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) rating. Sponsored by State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg) and State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), the law passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously and took effect immediately.