by Paul Heintz, VTDigger
HARDWICK — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Friday that it has extended by a month the deadline for Vermonters to apply for individual assistance related to this summer’s flooding. The new deadline is Oct. 12.
Earlier this week, state officials called on FEMA to extend the deadline beyond September 12, and the agency’s federal coordinating officer in Vermont, Will Roy, promised a “very prompt response” at a Wednesday press conference.
Individual assistance is available to homeowners and renters in nine counties included in the federal government’s major disaster declaration: Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor. Residents of other counties hit hard by summer flooding, such as Addison, have so far been excluded.
According to FEMA, those who qualify for individual assistance may be able to receive help with housing or driveway repair, temporary housing, hazard mitigation, the replacement of damaged household items or vehicles, and disaster-related child care and medical expenses. The U.S. Small Business Administration also provides low-interest loans to individuals for similar needs.
FEMA and state officials have urged Vermonters to not wait until the deadline to apply for aid, and Gov. Phil Scott last Wednesday encouraged those who believe they have not received sufficient aid — or whose flood-related costs have since increased — to appeal to FEMA.
Vermonters can apply for aid by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, by downloading the FEMA smartphone app or by calling a help line at (800) 621-3362. People can also apply in person at federal Disaster Recovery Centers, which are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
As of Sept. 1, such centers were operating at the following locations, according to FEMA: Washington County, Waterbury Armory, 294 Armory Drive, Waterbury; Barre Auditorium, 16 Auditorium Hill, Barre; Cabot Town Hall, 3084 Main St., Cabot; Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College St., Montpelier.
Also Orleans County: Barton Memorial Building, 17 Village Square, Barton; and Lamoille County: Northern Vermont University, McClelland Hall, 131 College Hill Road, Johnson.