Local group meets with FEMA about flood recovery

It’s the last day to report any flood damage to FEMA.

The Long Term Recovery Group is meeting with FEMA, emergency managers and several other agencies and charities to figure out the best way to help the community recover from flooding.

They want to help get people back on their feet both financially and emotionally.

Michele Engh, one of the leaders of the Long Term Recovery Group said, “It’s critical.”

Engh said it’s extremely important to get flood victims the help they need.

“As reality hits and you realize the scope of the loss. It’s a grief process you’ve lost your home. In some cases you’ve lost the normal life,” Engh said.

The group is meeting to see how they can help flood victims in Vernon, Crawford, Monroe and La Crosse Counties.

“Going to be looking at how we can best meet people’s needs as they go forward in recovery from the flood events,” Engh said.

They’re going to provide case managers to help people file paperwork and get money for their damaged homes and businesses.

“As of last week, there were 569 homes with substantial damage. Most of the homes did not have flood insurance because they weren’t in the floodplain,” Engh said.

Engh said the paperwork people have to file to get assistance can be extremely complicated.

“There’s different funding streams that are available. And it gets very confusing and there’s a lot of paperwork that really creates frustration among people who are trying to just get back to [a] normal existence,” Engh said.

Many people are hoping FEMA will help out, but Engh cautions, FEMA alone won’t be enough.

“FEMA comes in and pays based on a percentage. Unless you’re in the floodplain, that number is probably going to be less than what you’re expecting,” Engh said.

And even though it’s going to be a long road to recovery, Engh is optimistic.

“I anticipate with a lot of neighborhoods working together we will be able to recover,” Engh said.

If you haven’t reported any damage to FEMA, make sure you call 211 tonight.

Give your address and a description of what has been damaged.

Today is the last day to report any damages so you’re definitely going to want to do that.

You do not have to have all your paperwork in now, but you do have to report the damage.

Also if you would like to get a hold of the Long Term Recovery Group, you can reach them at 608-634-3412.

They are hoping to have case management workers available in six weeks.

The Long Term Recovery Group says FEMA will come out next week and do a preliminary assessment before reporting to Governor Walker.

The governor can then request President Trump make a declaration of natural disaster, and if that happens, FEMA will assist in the recovery effort.