Federal Assistance Available for Cook County Residents Impacted by Flood Damage. Here’s How to Apply

To the more than 8,000 Chicagoans who reported basement flooding earlier in the summer: federal relief is on the way.

President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration for Cook County Tuesday.

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It comes more than a month after nearly 9 inches of rain flooded parts of the city, with the West Side hit particularly hard.

Assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs; low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses; and other programs designed to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, officials said.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat from the Austin neighborhood, encouraged residents to apply for the assistance.

“The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll see a result,” Davis said.

Jitu Brown, a resident in the city’s Austin neighborhood and board president of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, saw about 4 feet of water in his home. He has insurance to cover damages, but that’s not the case for some other Austin residents he’s spoken to.

“We’re in a lot better shape than my sisters and brothers in the Austin neighborhood,” Brown said. “A lot of folks we met don’t have insurance or they’re not a homeowner, they’re a tenant.”

For cleaning supplies, residents can go to the corner of Division Street and Long Avenue on Mondays at 1 p.m., Brown said. Donations can be made here. Cleaning supplies like bleach, Pine-Sol or detergent can be dropped off at the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, 4242 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can apply for assistance online at disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA app.

Once residents apply and receive an application number, a few days later, a FEMA inspector will call to arrange a visit to survey the damage, according to the city’s disaster application process.

After the inspection, it’ll be determined whether the resident qualifies for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Residents who do qualify will receive a federal government check or a direct deposit, along with a letter explaining how funds may be used. That includes home repairs or rental assistance if a residence becomes uninhabitable.

Brown encouraged officials to think of preventative solutions to the flooding, like changes to neighborhood infrastructure.

“This is not the first flood we’ve endured in Austin,” Brown said.

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