How can individuals qualify for federal assistance for storm damage?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Local leaders are in the process of trying to get federal assistance to deal with this weekend's storms.

In order to have a disaster declaration declared, and receive federal reimbursement, there has to be a certain amount of loss to the local government, which is close to $9 million.

If Memphis meets that threshold, most of the money would be reimbursed to the local government, but there is a way individuals can receive federal assistance.

However, a separate threshold must be met.

WREG met Michael Blalock as he was leaving his Frayser home, and headed to one nearby that he also owns.

A large tree fell on top of the house, but Blalock is facing additional problems once the tree is removed.

He said, "Took homeowners off of it so this is of course coming out of my pocket."

Blalock estimates it will take more than a year to make repairs. Meanwhile, his relatives living in the home must move.

There are similar stories throughout Memphis. Lots of families have told WREG they don't have homeowners insurance, so they're struggling to determine their next move.

Local leaders are tallying up numbers to try and unlock federal assistance for both the government and individuals.

Mayor Jim Strickland told WREG, "For individuals to get help we need about 100 homes that are uninsured to be dramatically damaged."

Mayor Strickland says they need people without insurance to call 311 to report this damage.

If Memphis meets the requirements for federal funding, FEMA would possibly set up a local processing center where people could apply for additional assistance and business owners could look into small business loans.

However, if Memphis doesn't meet the requirements for individuals to get federal assistance, WREG has learned of a way local leaders could provide some money.

Back in 2014, then City Councilman Harold Collins sponsored a resolution that created the Disaster Assistance Recovery Program.

Collins explained, "Should we not meet the threshold from the declaration from the state or the federal government, it will allow Memphians to apply for resources to help jump start the repairs to their homes or businesses."

He added, "The fund is there as a last effort safety net."

The fund created in 2014 set aside $250,000 for residents dealing with flood damage.

Individuals could apply for up to $5,000 and small business owners could get up to $10,000.

Collins says what you don't want is cash strapped Memphians to walk away from their homes.

"We were trying to be proactive to give citizens the opportunity to say we want you to stay in your homes, and we want it so bad that we're willing to provide the assistance you need to jump start your repairs."

Collins says a current council member would need to draft a similar resolution to create a new fund for this storm cleanup if for some reason federal reimbursement didn't come through.

A spokesperson from the Mayor's office told WREG that 2014 fund no longer exists.

As far as federal reimbursement for both the government and individuals, it will take several more days before Memphis learns whether it meets the threshold.



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