Contact: Casper Hill, (612) 673-2342
City working with State to reapply for individual tornado damage assistance
June 20, 2011 (MINNEAPOLIS) Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson today thanked Governor Mark Dayton for his decision to reapply for Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help people affected by the devastating May 22 tornado that struck north Minneapolis. The Mayor and Council President met at the White House this morning with top federal officials from a variety of departments to discuss a wide range of federal resources available for North Minneapolis residents and businesses working to recover from the tornado, in addition to FEMA assistance.
“We made a strong case at the White House this morning that FEMA’s initial pass through North Minneapolis was not able to capture all of the significant hardships on individuals and families that the tornado caused. After we made our case, the Obama administration strongly encouraged us to reapply, and I’m grateful to Governor Dayton for making the decision to do so,” said Mayor Rybak.
“Federal officials recognize that in the past five years, we have focused like a laser on North Minneapolis,“ Mayor Rybak added, “and that the partnerships that we have put in place to bring down crime and fight the foreclosure crisis put us in a good position to rebuild the neighborhood, with additional federal help.”
“I’m pleased that the Obama Administration also recognizes the critical impacts of tornado damage on small businesses on the North Side,” said Council President Johnson. “Our neighborhood’s small businesses are the backbone of north Minneapolis, and we need to make sure that they also have all the help they need to recover. I appreciate the opportunity to make our case today and I thank the Governor for reapplying for much-needed Individual Assistance.”
The tornado cut a three-mile path through the city’s North Side, toppling thousands of trees and causing extensive damage to homes and businesses. More than 3,700 properties were affected, including more than 1,000 rental properties.
Although FEMA declared a major federal disaster for the area, assistance was only granted to state and local government and certain private non-profit organizations that provided emergency work following the storm. FEMA denied Minnesota’s request for individual assistance to affected homeowners, renters and businesses.
The need for Individual Assistance is significant.
- Although landlords are required to carry property insurance, most of their renters were not insured.
- Homeowners in affected areas, which include neighborhoods with the city’s highest rates of poverty and unemployment, may be subject to high insurance deductibles that they cannot afford.
- Many personal vehicles were also destroyed in the storm, adding to the hardships of people there.
- The North Side has the highest number of foreclosures in the city, with more than 400 real estate-owned properties. The concern is that these properties could now be bought by absentee property owners.
Governor Dayton directed Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kris Eide to appeal FEMA’s June 13 denial for individual assistance for Hennepin County. Director Eide will be appealing FEMA’s denial and renewing the Governor’s request for individual assistance for Hennepin County, including: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Small Business Disaster loans for Hennepin County.
Since last month’s tornado, thousands of people and several organizations have come forward to help the North Side. This includes the many volunteers who helped clean up storm debris. These resources, however, are not nearly sufficient to cover all costs from a disaster of this magnitude.
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Published Jun. 20, 2012