State, federal and local agencies are gearing up to offer disaster assistance services through offices in St. Charles Parish. The following is an outline of programs available to St. Charles Parish residents who qualify.
UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE. Unemployment benefits are available for St. Charles Parish residents whose jobs have been lost or interrupted because of Hurricane Gustav.
Those eligible must have been employed within the last 18 months, including during the storm. This also applies to lost wages due to extended evacuation.
Applications are being taken at the Louisiana Workforce Commission Office (formerly WIA), located at 737 Paul Maillard Road, Suite 2 in Luling. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Walk-ins are preferred.
To receive benefits, individuals must provide their social security number, proof of wages lost and proof of employment, including the name and address of the last employer. Self-employed individuals must provide their business and financial records, including federal income tax returns for 2007. Benefits are available to individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 7, 2008 through March 7, 2009 as long as the claimant’s unemployment continues to be a result of Hurricane Gustav.
The deadline to file is Oct 6.
For more information, visit http://emergency.louisiana.gov/Releases/090508DisasterUnemployment.html or call 1-866-783-5567.
FEMA APPLICATIONS. Residents and business owners may apply for FEMA assistance at www.fema.gov or by calling (800) 621-FEMA.
Assistance available includes reimbursement for hotel stays for those who cannot return to their homes because of damage or inaccessibility; reimbursement for generator purchases if needed to power medical equipment; and grants to help cover medical and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance.
FEMA officials urge all homeowners and business owners to apply even if they are insured in case they are eligible for assistance.
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE. The St. Charles Parish Department of Economic Development is assessing physical and economic losses to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the parish resulting from Hurricane Gustav.
Please e-mail this information to Corey Faucheux, St. Charles Parish Economic Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faucheux also urges all businesses experiencing some loss due to the storm to visit the SBA Web site to begin the application process. The address is http://www.sba.gov/hurricanes/index.html.
SBA loans, including physical disaster loans and economic injury loans, are available for those needing financial assistance to rebuild or repair facilities or provide temporary working capital until normal operations resume.
For more information, visit www.sba.gov or call (800) 621-FEMA.