VEM Requests Federal Assessment of Private Property Damages from October 31 Storm
WATERBURY, VT – Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann has requested a federal assessment of private property damaged during rain, floods, and high winds from October 31 – November 1, 2019. The assessment in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille, and Orleans counties will determine if Vermont may qualify for an Individual Assistance (IA) disaster declaration, providing aid to private homeowners and renters.
As of close of business on November 18th, 323 Vermont homeowners and renters have reported damages to their properties. These include damage to heating systems, floodwater and debris in the home and basement, washed out driveways, and other degrees of damage. A federal damage assessment will determine the cost of these losses and the overall economic impact of the storm.
Factors that decide if a state qualifies for an IA disaster declaration include the state’s fiscal capacity to aid survivors, the total cost of uninsured and underinsured private losses, the impact to community infrastructure, the population profile of the disaster area, unemployment, casualties, and other pertinent factors.
“Vermont has not received an Individual Assistance declaration since Tropical Storm Irene in 2011,” Bornemann said. “We feel the economic harm caused by this storm warrants serious consideration by the federal government, so I’m asking FEMA to do an assessment later this week to determine if total losses meet the federal standards for such a declaration.”
An Individual Assistance disaster declaration can provide financial help or direct services to private citizens who have needs following a disaster. This can include rental assistance for temporary housing, grants to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance, and other needs like replacement of personal property, vehicle repair, storage, or other approved expenses.
The goal of the program is to make damaged homes safe, sanitary, and habitable. The program is capped at $35,500 per household, and typical grants average $8,000 or less. Insurance and other available resources must be exhausted before aid is awarded.
It is important for homeowners and renters to contact 2-1-1 to report private property damages and losses that resulted from the storm, even if you do not anticipate applying for aid. This data is needed to drive the assessment and help determine if Vermonters qualify for a declaration.
A separate notice will be distributed when assessment dates and locations are determined.
An assessment of damage to public infrastructure like roads and public utilities has been completed and Governor Phil Scott will request a federal Public Assistance disaster declaration in the coming weeks.