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Illinois counties to get federal aid after flooding | FEMA help center opens in Lisle after floods

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In April, the Chicago area was drenched by a rainstorm that left widespread flooding. Some residents, including those in Lisle, are still recovering from the aftermaths.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that the White House has made federal funds available to supplement state and local recovery efforts.

Eleven Illinois counties will get federal money to recover from flooding in the state.

On Thursday, a FEMA disaster recovery center opened in Lisle, which was hard-hit. One month after the floods, 500 people remain displaced. Floods left well water contaminated with bacteria, and the local health department had urged residents to disinfect and test the water before drinking it.

The center is located at the Lisle Police Department and serves as a place where residents can apply for financial aid. It is one of three centers opening in the region on Thursday and Friday.

FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs that help businesses and home owners.

Residents like Robert and Susan Schumacher- who lost thousands of dollars in personal belongings after floods ravaged their home- registered and spoke with specialists at the center on Thursday.

They will find out how much money they qualify for within a few weeks through mail.

"It was 7 feet in the basement so everything I had for 34 years was gone. I even had an apartment down there. My mother and aunt lived with me for 21 years and now they've gutted it. . . But they're so nice in there and they're saying they can help so we'll see. We'll try," said Susan Schumacher.

Residents may be eligible for federal assistance even if they've gotten money from insurance or other local agencies.

"It's really a place where people can come in with questions and leave with answers. . . Every case is decided individually," said Mike McCormick, FEMA.

The federal aid will be shared by Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry and Will counties. Other areas may also receive assistance if the state requests it, and further damage assessments reveal it is warranted.

For more information, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA.

Small business administration disaster loans are also available as an alternative- or to supplement- a FEMA grant.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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