LIVINGSTON - One month after the devastating floods that ripped through Park County and southern Montana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have opened a center in Livingston to help victims of the June flood.
“It becomes so overwhelming, we're in there working in our spare time,” says Chris Bendan, owner of Last Stand Fireworks.
For Bendan, the road to recovery has been long after his fireworks stand was flooded last month, "I'm still working and so on my days I try to inch along in this process because it’ll be months."
Bendan came to check out aid for his business as the recovery process inches along.
FEMA and the SBA are providing assistance to homeowners and business owners who have been directly affected in Park, Carbon, and Stillwater counties. Counties that were indirectly affected by economic injury are also qualified; those counties include Big Horn, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Meagher, Sweet Grass, and Yellowstone.
“For business owners, we can go up to $2 million, and that includes both the physical damage to the property, any merchandise that was lost because of the flooding, but also economic injury disaster loans are included in that $2 million,” says Small Business Administration Public Information Officer Rick Tillery.
They encourage anyone who has been affected by the flooding to come in and apply to get help.
“You won’t know what you might qualify for until you come in or you apply online,” says FEMA Public Information Officer Thomas Kempton.
According to FEMA, it have already dispersed $897,000 as of July 12.
The goal is to make it easy for people to apply for funding. To apply they ask for a social security number, address, phone number, household income, bank account information, and description of losses.
“When the funds come out often, they are direct deposits going right to the bank, so people don’t have to come. It’s a direct deposit if they are awarded that,” says Kempton.
The deadline to apply for physical damage aid is Aug. 29. The Economic Injury Deadline is March 30, 2023.
As for Bendan, he is banking on help not only from the feds and his community.
“Once you overcame the fact that life didn’t end and we were going to continue on and we got open it was very positive,” says Bendan.
There is state disaster unemployment assistance that gives up to 26 weeks of aid for those who work in non-traditional industries like tourism.
“For those who have been affected by the flooding, whether it’s a small business or a private homeowner, it's floodrecovery.mt.gov that is a one-stop shop for all the resources. Or they can pop by one of these centers in Livingston, Red lodge, or Fromberg to apply for this relief,” says Governor Greg Gianforte.
The three ways to apply for assistance through FEMA are over the phone by calling 1-800-621-3362, in person at Park High School in Livingston, or online at disasterassistance.gov
The state number for unemployment assistance is 406-444-3454.
The state website for Flood Recovery Information is floodrecovery.mt.gov