Nearly 600 homes in the communities of Bellevue and Fremont have been ruled uninhabitable.
Broken or overtopped levees allowed river water to flood parts of both communities last month. Many of those red-tagged homes have structural problems, and electricity has been cut off from all of them.
Homeowners can’t repair red-tagged properties until consulting with county officials. If the damage exceeds half a house’s value, that usually means the house must be raised so it isn’t left to flood again.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Friday, seeking regulatory relief for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers in the wake of the state’s historic flood.
“Agriculture took a big hit, but nobody outworks Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers,” said Sasse. “Nebraska is going to get the job done, and we could use some help from our partners at the Department of Agriculture. We’ve got a long road ahead, but we’ll pull together.”
Sasse, who spent Friday surveying damage alongside Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Nebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin, asked the Department of Agriculture for three common-sense steps:
1. Providing additional flexibility as needed with deadlines in the Livestock Indemnity Program for Nebraskans still recovering from the disaster.
2. Waiving a narrow definition of “winter storm” that currently requires three consecutive days, which does not adequately cover the fast-moving and extreme weather conditions that Nebraska faced.
3. Detailing additional USDA personnel to help county and state Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is opening up four more disaster relief centers in Nebraska.
One of the relief centers will be in Ashland. Others are in Arlington, the Central Nebraska town of Gibbon, and Center, which is near the damage along the Niobrara River.
Four other centers are already open, in Fremont, Valley, Bellevue and Plattsmouth. Each of those centers is helping people apply for federal help to recover from the March flooding.
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are also working in impacted neighborhoods to help survivors register for assistance and to identify immediate and emerging needs. Teams are operating in Boone, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington counties. They have visited more than 4,988 homes.
NEBRASKA ENERGY OFFICE
The Nebraska Energy Office is providing assistance to those impacted by floods.
Two separate Energy Office programs will provide funding – the Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program and the Low Income Home Weatherization Assistance Program.
The Dollar and Energy Saving Loans are meant to assist those impacted by flooding to repair their homes, provided the home has not been condemned.
Project loan applications are submitted to the resident’s local Nebraska lender and the Nebraska Energy Office prior to installation for verification of compliance with program requirements.
The following energy efficiency projects are eligible to be submitted for emergency loans:
Every effort will be made to process emergency loan applications within 48 hours.
The Emergency HVAC Replacement Program allows local community service providers to utilize Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Emergency Funds to repair or replace furnaces and/or air-conditioning systems.
This program is for owner occupied units that were not eligible for assistance due to previous weatherization limitations. The program pays for weatherization assistance up to $5,000.
To receive free weatherization services, household annual income must fall below 200% of the federal poverty level. Income limits can be found at http://www.neo.ne.gov/wx/wxindex.htm#income
If a household receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or has received Low Income Energy Assistance Payments (LIHEAP), they are automatically eligible.
Those interested in applying for funds should contact their Regional Service Provider.
For more information on applying for emergency assistance visit the Nebraska Energy Office Flood Assistance webpage at: http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/floodemergency.html
The Nebraska Energy Office Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program webpage can be found at: http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/index.html
The Low Income Home Weatherization Assistance Program webpage can be found at: http://www.neo.ne.gov/wx/wxindex.htm
For more information on the Dollar and Energy Saving Loans at 1% interest contact:
Aaron Miller,[email protected]
Jody Johns,[email protected]
For more information on the Weatherization Assistance Emergency HVAC Repair/Replacement Program contact:
Tom Tabor[email protected]