The amount of damages reported to the La Salle County Emergency Management Agency has not come close to reach the threshold for federal disaster financial aid, but the agency has found other forms of assistance residents affected by the late September flash flooding may be able to use.
During Sept. 27-28, the village of Seneca received roughly 7 inches of bringing standing waters to many residents' doorsteps and flooding basements. The communities of Sheridan and Serena also had several reports of flooded basements, along with power outages.
The three primary forms of federal disaster assistance — individual assistance, public assistance and Small Business Administration loans — all have specific damage requirements in order for those federal agencies to provide assistance. For comparison, 22 counties in downstate Illinois have also been denied aid to individuals and businesses as a result of this past springs flood event
The United States Department of Agriculture, through its Illinois Rural Development program can offer eligible homeowners a 1% repair loan to make repairs and replace items destroyed by flooding; and applicants 62 years of age and older who have low income may qualify for grant funds as well. To access this benefit, go to the Illinois Rural development website at www.rd.usda.gov/il or call 815-433-0551, ext. 4.
Public bodies and municipalities can look into the Illinois Rural Development’s Community Facility Direct Loan & Grant Program for any essential community facility or water/waste system affected by the flooding.
“I would recommend that everyone look into getting flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program,” said La Salle County EMA deputy director Fred Moore in a press statement. “People found out during this flood event that their homeowner and business insurance didn’t cover much as a result of the flash flooding.”
To qualify, a homeowner does not have to live in an identified floodplain and flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration. It is also recommended homeowners meet with their insurance agent to discuss coverages and determine if any specific riders might be needed on their policy such as sewer back-up, increased cost of code compliance, etc.