ALBANY PARK — Chicagoans affected by April's massive flooding are eligible for federal assistance to repair their damaged homes and businesses but only if they register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency by July 9.
Registration is the first step toward receiving aid and is a requirement even for those who have previously filed a flood insurance claim.
Register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by phone at 800-621-3362, or in person at the Disaster Recovery Center set up at North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd., Building C. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Be prepared to provide a Social Security number, insurance information and bank routing number for direct deposit, along with contact information.
Following registration, property owners should expect a visit from a FEMA inspector within two weeks. FEMA employees conduct all of the agency's inspections and should provide identification if asked — beware of potential scams.
If the inspector determines the flood damage qualifies the property for assistance, owners have up to a year to apply for FEMA funds.
FEMA assistance may take the form of grants — which don't need to be repaid — or low interest Small Business Administration loans. Funds may be used to help with temporary housing, essential home repairs or replacement, and other disaster-related expenses.