State expands disaster assistance program

State expands disaster assistance program
The Presidential Disaster Declaration for individual assistance triggered an expansion of South Dakota's disaster assistance program.� In addition to the emergency food, clothing and prescription medicine assistance, several other programs are now available from low-interest loans for home repair to crisis counseling.

Many of the state housing assistance programs work in concert with the federal programs. To access state or federal housing assistance, people need to first go through the FEMA registration process.

"We understand disasters are overwhelming and sorting through all the available state and federal programs can be intimidating," said Kristi Turman, director of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management. "That's why we have state employees available at the Disaster Recovery Centers to help walk folks through the FEMA registration program and the state assistance programs."

People can access the programs by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center or by calling South Dakota's Disaster Recovery Help Line at 1-866-737-8998.� The help line and Recovery Centers are operational seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

"I strongly encourage anyone affected by the storms to register with FEMA. Not everyone will be eligible for assistance, but you have no chance of receiving assistance if you don't register," said Turman.

There are three ways to register with FEMA:

  • Visit a Disaster Recovery Center.
  • Call 1-800-621.FEMA (3362); TTY: 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments; lines are open from 7 a.m. to 8 days a week.
  • Register online at

    Below is a list of some of the state programs offered.

  • Department of Health.
  • Technical assistance to renters and home and business owners regarding clean-up, food and water safety, general health and safety, and mold.
  • Emergency assistance through the WIC program.
  • Private well testing.
  • Vaccinations.
  • Disease surveillance and reporting.
  • Department of Labor.
  • Unemployment insurance for eligible participants.
  • Temporary labor for cleanup duties (at owners expense).
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • Department of Social Services.
  • Emergency food, clothing, and medicine for displaced individuals.
  • Child care assistance.
  • Elderly services.
  • Replacement Food Stamp Benefits.
  • Housing Development Authority.
  • Home repair grants (through the Community Action Program agencies) and low-interest loans for home repair for income eligible applicants.
  • Governor's House Program.
  • Rental waivers for HUD subsidized apartment units.
  • Emergency shelter funds can be used to help pay for motel stays, rent and utility assistance payments.
  • Department of Human Services.
  • 24-hour access to mental health counselors and alcohol and drug counselors.
  • Crisis counseling.
  • Support and assistance for emergency and involuntary commitment of individuals with substance dependency disorders.
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