Heavy rains during September inundated Kenai Peninsula residents; the subsequent flooding closed and damaged roads, cut off residents from their subdivision homes and prompted emergency responders to open temporary shelters.
As a result — after touring flooded areas Sept. 21 in the Mat-Su region — Gov. Sean Parnell declared a state disaster for the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula Boroughs. The declaration activated the state’s public and individual assistance programs.
The state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will open disaster assistance centers throughout the Peninsula to help residents use two disaster recovery programs.
The deadline to apply for an individual family grant or temporary housing is Nov. 20. The assistance centers will be located at the Anchor Point Fire Station in Anchor Point, Oct. 15-16; the Legends Building in Seward, Oct. 15-17; and the Borough’s Emergency Response Center in Soldotna on Oct. 18.
Individual family grants provide “recovery funds for physical property, like home and vehicle damages,” said Jeremy Zidek, Division of Emergency Management spokesperson.
The grant also provides money for medical, dental and funeral expenses — no one died during September’s flooding. The maximum grant a person or family can receive is $15,700. It is provided only when other resources, such as insurance and small business loans, are not adequate.
Temporary housing is used when residents’ homes are destroyed or severely damaged, Zidek said. Homeowners can receive a maximum of 18 months of assistance, and people who rent can receive three months of assistance.
The state is asking residents to bring the following items to the assistance centers: personal identification, insurance information, home ownership documents and a description of damages and losses.
“It can also be beneficial to bring photographs of the damage,” Zidek said.
The Division of Emergency Management is working with the borough to calculate the expenses caused by the flooding. So far, emergency management officials have identified about 440 impacted homes.
The borough previously requested flooding-damage information from residents, which officials compiled. It is currently asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance with damage assessment. Beginning Thursday, state representatives and FEMA employees will visit areas that reported damages. The state will use that information to decide if it should request federal assistance.
Visiting one of the centers is the fastest way to apply for assistance, but residents may also call 1-855-445-7131 to apply by phone.
Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.