Disaster assistance hotline launches for Western Alaska storm aftermath

Disaster assistance hotline formally opened to help western coastal communities impacted by the storm
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 8:06 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In addition to issuing a disaster declaration following the destructive storm in Western Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state have also activated the state’s individual assistance program.

Wednesday, the disaster assistance hotline officially opened for business to help individuals dealing with the aftermath.

Now that things are becoming more stable in western coastal communities impacted by the storm, the state said it’s time for people to apply for financial assistance.

Residents looking for financial help to pay for recovery costs must apply by Nov. 17, according to Jeremy Zidek with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“Call the hotline, or go online to register, they’ll be registering for our state individual assistance and we’ll work with them to provide our programs as quickly as possible,” Zidek said.

Zidek said it’s important to apply for both state assistance and federal assistance, as well as meeting the deadline to file an application.

“When they do that, they’ll need to have some documents such as identification, proof of ownership — if they have that — a list of damages,” Zidek said. “Also photos and videos of damages are helpful, and proof of occupancy, something like a utility bill.”

Zidek recommends residents apply even if they do not have any of those items.

“If people can facilitate their recovery in some way, making repairs, or restoring their homes and doing some of that work themselves, please do that work and get yourselves back into a habitable home,” Zidek said.

He added that it’s important to keep receipts and records of progress in making repairs while continuing to apply for assistance.

“For our state individual assistance program, the maximum grant that people can receive for housing assistance to repair their homes is $18,950,” Zidek said. “For other needs, which can include transportation, critical personal items, furniture that may have been lost, and subsistence items, we can provide another $18,950.”

There’s also a temporary housing program at the state level, Zidek said, with an 18-month stay for homeowners and a three-month option for renters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state have different provisions and limits, but for those in need, Zidek said it’s worth applying for both.

Residents wanting to register for disaster assistance can find it on the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management site, or by registering on the phone by calling 844-445-7131.