Additional Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery centers are expected to open Wednesday in Beavercreek and Celina to assist people in Greene and Mercer Counties affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes.
The centers will be staffed by federal experts from FEMA and the United States Small Business Administration to offer storm survivors assistance with temporary living expenses, uninsured home repairs, and other urgent needs.
Similar disaster recovery centers have already set up shop over the last week in storm-damaged neighborhoods in Trotwood, and Dayton, where affected homeowners, renters and business owners could receive emergency grants to help with medical and dental bills, moving and storage fees, personal property loss, and childcare payments.
Low-interest loans may also available through the Small Business Administration.
FEMA spokesman Leo Skinner says at least 254 people have so far visited the Trotwood center. At least seven people have sought help at the Dayton center.
In Celina, where hundreds of homes, farms and businesses were damaged, Mayor Jeffrey Hazel says most, if not all of their residents affected by the storms were covered by insurance, though some residents, Hazel says, have filed for help online with FEMA already.
“For me, a full recovery would be, obviously you're getting the houses rebuilt. "The homes have got several million dollars of damage in this area but FEMA is well aware of that. We've sent the documents that we needed to, but when they come in [with the center] I think we'll have a much clearer understanding and an outline of what's going to happen going forward,” Hazel says.
More than 100 Mercer County homes were damaged by the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, and at least four dozen were declared uninhabitable and have already been demolished, officials report.
Emergency officials are advising affected residents to watch for potential fraud as FEMA teams continue to canvass storm-damaged neighborhoods.
The Greene County FEMA disaster recovery center will open Wednesday, June 26 in Beavercreek to help renters, homeowners and businesses in Ohio affected by the tornadoes, storms and flooding of May 27 –29, 2019.
-It will be located at Shaw Elementary School, 3560 Kemp Rd. Beavercreek, OH 45431, and be open Mon. through Sun., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
But, FEMA officials urge anyone needing to file for federal disaster assistance to start a claim before visiting a center in person. File a claim online at DisasterAssistance.gov; or by phone, at 800-621-3362.
In Montgomery County, the Environmental Services department has announced it's temporarily waiving fees for water and sewer customers whose properties were damaged in the tornadoes.
The fee-waiver would apply to both residential and commercial properties, and include emergency shut-off fees, trip charge fees, pull meter service fees, lost meter fees, late fees, and abandonment permit fees.
In a written statement, Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman said the waiver is aimed at helping people as they recover.
“My fellow Commissioners and I have spent a lot of time in the areas devastated by the tornadoes, and the destruction is hard to put into words. We want to do everything we can to remove barriers and ease any burdens people might face in putting their lives back together,” she said. “We know that it will take months, maybe years, to recover from this disaster. Montgomery County is committed to helping our community for as long as it takes.”
More information from Montgomery County:
"If your property is inhabitable and you are a Montgomery County customer; you will be billed up to the date prior to the tornado and all consumption and charges from Monday, May 27, 2019 forward will not be included on that current bill.
Normal billing will resume for the next billing cycle. If you are a County customer and your property is not inhabitable; you must call Montgomery County to obtain an abandonment permit and have services disconnected through the Permits Department.
Customers with properties deemed not inhabitable will not be charged a quarterly bill until reconnection is made. If a quarterly bill has already been paid, the account will be credited."