Koochiching County denied disaster relief assistance from FEMA

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Koochiching County suffered through a destructive flood earlier this spring, many wondering if disaster relief assistance would be provided.

However, there were many other areas that suffered from flooding like St. Louis, Cook, and Lake county.

Willi Kostiuk, the emergency manager of Koochiching county, said the residents’ preventative measures for flooding may have backfired. FEMA’s evaluation of homes and businesses, decided the damages were not as severe, because of the sandbagging efforts.

“FEMA needed a significant amount of homes that were destroyed. And it’s not for lack of trying, they tried to pull all of these counties into one to breach that whatever that major or that destroyed number is, and they just couldn’t find it.” Kostiuk said.

While many homes and businesses were save from the destructive flooding, the damage was still significant. Fortunately, the Small Business Administration was able to help many residents.

Courtney Smith, is a public affairs specialist for the US Small Business Administration. She explained, when disasters occur, but are not as catastrophic, the SBA help rather than FEMA.

“Individuals, automatically assume that it’s only assistance provided to small business owners when actually the SBA does have an office of disaster assistance. And basically what that office does is in time of disaster, this office provides assistance in the form of low interest disaster loans for those survivors residing in disaster declared counties.” Courtney Smith said.

Courtney is currently in the Koochiching County helping residents get the loans they need for the property damages. Residents in disaster declared counties are still able to apply for loans.

Home owners and renters affected by the flooding are able to apply for loans until November 7th. Small business owners, and non-profit organizations are able to apply until Jun 7th of 2023.