Standing water pools in the street at Kostner Avenue and Roosevelt Road in North Lawndale after heavy rainfall in early July 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Editor’s note: FEMA extended the original deadline to apply for assistance from Oct. 16 to Oct. 30. The story has been updated.

CHICAGO — There are only a few days left for Cook County residents to apply for federal disaster assistance to help with flood relief efforts following intense summer storms.

Anyone who was affected by the June 29-July 2 storms — which caused severe flooding, particularly on the West Side and western suburbs — is eligible to apply for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The deadline is Oct. 30.

Neighbors who were affected by the flooding can get grants to pay for temporary housing and home repairs. 

People can apply online or by visiting a disaster recovery site. 

There are eight sites throughout the area that have served more than 8,500 Cook County residents, federal officials said. Two new sites opened this week in public libraries in Little Village and suburban Chicago Heights to help neighbors apply before the deadline. 

Nearly 46,600 households have already been approved for about $166 million in grants to help with short-term housing costs and home repairs, according to FEMA.  

There are other recovery programs available to everyone, regardless of citizenship and immigration status, like access to counseling, legal services, shelter, medical care and food, officials said.

Parents of United States citizens can also apply for financial assistance regardless of their immigration status, as long as their children live in their households. 

After you register for assistance, you’ll receive a letter from FEMA showing how much relief you qualify for. If you’re not eligible for support, the letter will explain why. You can appeal the decision for up to 60 days after receiving the letter. 

FEMA representatives will continue evaluating applications in the weeks after the deadline. So, it could still time to receive a decision letter detailing how much assistance you’re eligible to receive, officials said. 

Scroll down for more information about disaster recovery sites, which information you need to submit when applying, how to appeal FEMA decision letters and where to access free legal counseling. 

Disaster Recovery Site Locations: 

There are eight disaster recovery sites throughout the area. You can find out which one is closest to you online

Most in-person sites will only be open through Oct. 15, but you can apply for assistance online through Oct. 30.

The centers are “one-stop shops for survivors who need one-on-one help,” according to FEMA. 

Representatives at these centers can help people apply for relief and upload documents. They can also share information about how people can make their homes more disaster-resistant and answer people’s individual questions. 

  • North Austin, Washington Square Mall — 4851 W. North Ave. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
  • South Austin, Columbus Square Field House — 500 S. Central Ave. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 
  • Berwyn, Berwyn Grove Avenue Parking Garage — 3310 Grove Ave. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 
  • Chatham, Imani Village — 901 E. 95th St. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 
  • Cicero, Morton College — 3801 S. Central Ave. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 
  • Chicago Heights, Chicago Heights Public Library — 25 W. 15th St. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 
  • Garfield Park, Garfield Community Service Center — 10 S. Kedzie Ave. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 
  • Little Village, Toman Branch Chicago Public Library, 2708 S. Pulaski Road. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 

Here’s What You Need To Apply:

  • Address of your primary dwelling place, where damage occurred
  • Current mailing address, telephone number and Social Security number
  • Insurance information 
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account numbers for checking or savings account for direct deposit 
  • Description of disaster damages and losses 

If FEMA Says You’re Not Eligible For Assistance, You Can Appeal The Decision: 

If you’re not approved to receive support, the decision letter you receive from FEMA will explain why you’re not eligible for assistance and recommend next steps. 

It’s common for people to be denied federal assistance if they’ve already received payments from insurance. However, if your insurance policy didn’t cover all your essential needs, you can submit your insurance settlement documents for FEMA to review.  

People may also be denied assistance due to missing documents, including proof of identity, verification you owned or occupied the damaged property, or proof the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster. 

Applicants can appeal FEMA’s decision within 60 days of the date on the decision letter by uploading a signed letter online, delivering it to a disaster recovery site or mailing it to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055.

The letter should include: 

  • Applicant’s full name, current address and phone number
  • Address of the applicant’s pre-disaster primary residence
  • Applicant’s signature and the date
  • Applicant’s registration number (on every page) 
  • FEMA disaster declaration number, DR-4728 (on every page) 
  • An explanation of why you disagree with the decision
  • Any requested information or supporting documentation 

If your home was safe to live in when you applied for assistance but your situation has changed, you can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. You could have your property re-inspected and be considered for assistance again. 

Free services are available to help people with legal issues, including home repair contracts, insurance claims, FEMA benefits, disaster fraud and landlord or tenant problems. 

The services are provided through a partnership with FEMA, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and Legal Aid Chicago.   

You can call 312-341-1070 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to access these services. You can also make a request online through Legal Aid Chicago. 

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