Appeal denied: FEMA rejects Gov. Snyder’s appeal

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Yards in Ripley, one of the hardest hit areas, after being partially cleared of flood-water deposited rubble.

HOUGHTON COUNTY — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied the individual assistance appeal for Father’s Day flood damage to homes and businesses in Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee Counties.

The agency approved aid for public assistance earlier in the summer but denied the individual assistance. The decision was appealed by Gov. Rick Snyder and received support from area representatives.

Individual assistance typically includes grants and low cost loans for uninsured home repairs and losses.

In their denial letter, FEMA cited the original finding that the impacts were not substantial enough.

“The impact to the individuals and households from this event was not of the severity and magnitude to warrant the implementation of the Individual Assistance program,” the letter said.

FEMA did not offer any additional comments on the denial.

“I’m disappointed that FEMA did not recognize the severity of the economic impacts on homeowners and local businesses in the affected area who have suffered property damage and have lost wages and productivity as a result of this disaster,” Snyder said in a press release Wednesday.

With the FEMA funding denied, Snyder is seeking a physical and economic disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The declaration would bring additional assistance in the form of low-interest loans available to residents and businesses. A letter was sent Tuesday, Snyder said.

Franklin Township Supervisor Mary Sears was disappointed by the decision, worrying for the residents in the harder-hit areas.

“Our people, they just don’t have anywhere to turn. Some of these people, they’re getting less from the Portage Health Foundation than they thought they were going to get and a lot of them they just have their backs against the wall,” she said.

Many hard hit homes don’t have any flood insurance, little to spare for repairs and may not be able to handle another loan even if the SBA offers aid.

“It’s going to be a hard road ahead of us,” Sears said.