By TRICIA HILL
Grant County Emergency Management held a public hearing at the Tuffley Community Center last Thursday evening to inform citizens affected by the recent flooding of the steps necessary to obtain financial assistance. Discussion centered around applying for Emergency Assistance Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) due to heavy damages caused by the recent flooding.
The CDBG is a grant that helps cover housing and infrastructure damages, meaning the money will not cover any personal property. However, it can cover bridges, driveways and culverts, as long as they are the main access point to the house.
“It helps cover loss that was not covered by insurance,” said Steve Braun, Grant County Emergency Management Director.
Many community members in attendance were concerned about getting help for their business or rental properties. However, many were disappointed to hear that this money could not be used for businesses or rental properties. Business will most likely have to take out a loan to help repair their damages.
“The rules say it is for homeowners only, but we are going to try to get everyone help that needs it,” said Braun.
The problem with the CDBG grant is that it only grants a maximum of $500,000. With the damage to homes in Boscobel alone, the $500,000 would not come close to covering all the needs of Grant County. Braun plans on sending out two applications, one for all affected Grant County townships, the second for the city of Boscobel, both asking for $500,000 each.
Who will it help?
Braun currently has a list of some of the people affected by flooding and will be going through them. Families falling in the 80 percent income range also depending on household size will be receiving help first. Then if there is still money left over it could go to families in the 100 percent income range.
Dale Klemme of Community Development Alternatives, Inc. and Braun explained to a full house what damaged items the grant would cover and what it wouldn’t. For example, a water heater would be covered, but a washer and dryer would not.
Braun and Klemme also told community members that if there were items they needed immediately they could buy it and keep the receipts and then possibly be reimbursed, as long as they have the funds and the item was not a personal possession.
“Remember, if you get the item prior to us being approved for the money, there is a chance you may not be reimbursed,” said Klemme.
Braun and Klemme reassured some concerned community members that the money would not go toward any street work unless someone has a sidewalk issue by their house.
To apply for the CDBG grant, Grant County completed the first step by having the meeting. Now they will be taking the resolution to the county board and if approved, they will start working on the applications.
20 families displaced
The application will require a narrative description about what happened and how bad the damage is—such the 20 Boscobel families currently unable to live in their homes.
Also, if anyone has any photos of damage that has been done to their home from the flooding, they also need to send them in with the application. Once the application is sent in, then it could either be approved for all, some or none of the money.
“We are hoping if everything goes well, that we will have the money by the middle of August,”
As Braun and Klemme are trying to get the applications going, they ask that all community members of Grant County who have not contacted Braun about damages contact him at (608) 723-7171 so they can get added to his list.
“We promise to be fair and do our best to help everyone by making sure their basic needs are met,” Klemme said.