Three Indiana counties won't get FEMA flood assistance
It's a good news-bad news week for Kokomo after the worst flooding that area has seen in decades. First, the area misses the mark for FEMA help, but then a bright spot comes in the form of help from another source.
Federal disaster funding won't be headed to Kokomo through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But, there are other options. In the meantime, the Wildcat Creek is back down to normal levels, flood clean-up is underway and the community is focusing on the positive and the help they are receiving.
"We understand some things you can do with people's hands and their hearts. For other things, it really takes money to get it accomplished," said Brian Harlow, Chrysler Group.
Chrysler is donating $50,000 in flood relief, with a $25,000 check each to Howard and Tipton Counties.
It's money that couldn't have come at a better time. Last week, FEMA Assessment Teams spread out across the area documenting the damage. But the outcome fell just short of the threshold FEMA requires for a community to qualify for their help.
Kokomo saw record flooding last month after heavy rains. Foster Park along Washington Street in the downtown area was under water after Wildcat Creek surged out of its banks.
The Howard County Emergency Management told us around 350 homes were impacted in this area in some way. 330 homes were affected in Tipton County.
The storms last month caused more than $2.5 million in the city of Tipton alone. Most of the major flooding damage was seen in Howard County.
"I did cry. I cried for a little while. I asked my husband and said we got to figure something out and soon," said Lashanda Thomas.
Lashanda and her family were hit hard by the April flooding when two to three feet of water poured into their home.
The home was damaged so badly that it's now uninhabitable, and the family has been told it could be condemned. So, for the last few weeks, a room at the Motel 6 is home and their future is in limbo.
"I don't mind paying for a house. I just can't afford to pay for two houses," said Lashanda.
"Hopefully there are some funds available to help us purchase some homes that can't be re-built or invested in," said Greg Goodnight, Kokomo Mayor.
In the meantime, every dollar helps.
"If they need to be relocated and their home has been condemned, we can relocate them [and help with] deposit, first month's rent," said Abbie Smith, United Way of Kokomo.
But back to those other options, there are other avenues to get federal assistance and the state is pursuing those, namely through the Small Business Administration. But when that help will come, if it will come and in what amount remains to be seen.
The application is currently pending. If it does come through, it will be in the form of low-interest loans. Those needing help will be asked to apply. If they are turned down, then they can apply for state disaster assistance.