Disaster assistance available after winter storm

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 4:57 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Online registration is now open for those who are in need of assistance due to the winter storms that impacted Alaska over the last few weeks.

Storms across the Interior affected many homes and businesses with wet heavy snowfall and rain that fell over the course of a few days.

In the month of December, historic snowfalls fell across the Interior, bringing 49.7 inches of snow to Fairbanks according to the National Weather Service.

Scott Kawasaki, Senator for Alaska District A, said in an interview that Governor Mike Dunleavy declared Tuesday that for the 2021-2022 winter storm, assistance would be available for those whose homes were damaged due to the freezing rain and heavy snowfall.

“We expected that there are going to be a lot of folks that would apply,” Kawasaki said. “There are families that are in need that have roofs that fell, and water in basements is what I have heard a lot recently inside the city limits.”

Last week the Matanuska-Susitna borough suffered damaging winds, and that mixed with snow and freezing rain also had impacts on many homes in the region.

According to a press release from the State of Alaska, residents in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Denali Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Nenana, Delta-Greely Regional Education Attendance Area, and the Copper River Regional Education Attendance Area are eligible for disaster recovery grants for damages to their primary residences that occurred during the storms.

When it comes to businesses, Kawasaki said, “I don’t know if businesses directly can apply. But for now, individuals can apply - and if an individual also owns a business they should also ask that question. There is an internet portal to apply. There is also a phone number that they can call. The general information that they need is if they have an insurance policy that will not cover certain things, other items like damages, and what happened [to them]. It also is for those who are needing housing because if their roof fell. It is 30 below today, where are they going to go? So there are some options for folks to apply and to receive this benefit from the state and federal government.”

Kawasaki noted that those who are looking to apply should do so soon.

“The advice that we have got from the state is to apply immediately,” he added. “Apply with as much information that you can upfront. They are trying to figure out how much money that we are going to need from the federal government.”

The State of Alaska IA program comes in three parts. Temporary Housing grants, Housing Assistance grants, and Other Needs Assistance grants.

Temporary Housing can provide funds to secure lodging while applicants find permanent housing, while Financial assistance may be available for up to 18 months for owners and three months for renters according to the release.

Other Needs Assistance can provide funds for losses to essential personal property not covered by insurance. Recovery costs such as clean-up and storage expenses are also tied in with that assistance.

Based on damages and eligibility, the maximum grant amount an applicant can receive through Housing Assistance is 18,950, and separately, an additional 18,950 for Other Needs Assistance. Temporary Housing is calculated separately based on family size and local rates of stay.

The deadline to apply is March 4, 2022, and all those impacted by the winter storm are encouraged to apply for individual assistance as soon as possible.

More information can be found at this website

On the site, you can find an overview of the assistance program, as well as frequently asked questions and information.

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