BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Starting Friday, July 12, a local Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center is offering an extra hand of help for qualifying residents who fell victim to recent storm damage.
Representatives from many service organizations will be available to discuss disaster assistance programs, to answer questions and to give guidance regarding repairs.
For some residents in Boardman Township, the recovery center is their last hope.
“My house is full of mold. I have three bowed walls,” said Judy Peyko.
Peyko’s house suffered considerable damage from May’s flood. Since qualifying for assistance, she said she finally feels like someone is listening.
She’s urging the public to head over to the recovery center at the Boardman Township Administration Building to let FEMA know about the continued flooding in Boardman.
“Even if you didn’t flood or you didn’t have a sewer back up, you know what’s going on here with the continual rains, and our infrastructure is outdated,” Peyko said.
The recovery center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Tuesday, July 16. It will be closed on Sunday, though.
Suzanne Steck, of Boardman, did not qualify for assistance. She learned FEMA can only help if an outside insurance claim has been made for damage.
She did not report the most recent damage to her insurance company out of fear they might cancel her service.
“You have to make an insurance claim and I didn’t want to do it because I was afraid I’d get canceled, and I think a lot of people have that fear,” Steck said.
Kathy Miller, also of Boardman, did qualify for assistance. She says although her process ran longer than expected, the in-person help made the difference.
“I think it’s hard to do this online. It’s really better to be face-to-face. They gave me forms, answered questions and I got to talk to several different people,” Miller said.
FEMA is aware that the meetings can take time. So, they are telling homeowners, business owners and renters to register for federal assistance online before going in.
The Boardman Township Administration Building is located at 8299 Market Street.
Editor’s note: This story is corrected to show that FEMA can help anyone with damage, not just those with insurance.