2019-06-13 ne-whytheylivethere p (2) (copy)

John Miller cleans out his house near Sand Springs after 4 feet of floodwater seeped into his residence. The deadline to apply for individual assistance for those in Oklahoma’s disaster area is July 31.

HARRISON GRIMWOOD/Tulsa World

Federal assistance helped assuage some of the suffering for a Sand Springs-area couple after river water flooded their home for nearly two weeks.

John and Julie Miller, who live in the Town and Country neighborhood near Sand Springs, lost their week-to-week wages when their home flooded. Repair estimates amounted to around $75,000.

They shut down their day care ahead of the flood.

“That was our sole income,” Julie Miller said. “We applied right away because we really needed the help.”

The deadline to apply for individual assistance for those in Oklahoma’s disaster area is July 31. Oklahomans can register for disaster assistance if they were affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes or flooding between May 7 and June 9.

The Millers were granted individual assistance. John Miller said it was worth the small amount of time on the phone and online filling out the registration. He said it would be worthwhile regardless of the assistance amount.

“I’m not going to stretch the truth ... it’s (the flood) been the most stressful experience of my entire life,” John Miller said.

The Miller’s home, located in the 500-year floodplain, was flooded with about 4 feet of water during the May rains. Friends and family have stepped in to assist with repairs to offset some of the costs.

“Being able to just look at the heat and air guys ... is a whole lot different than being a redneck about it and trying to rig things up,” John Miller said. “It gets to be done right.”

Storm survivors have until the end of the month to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual disaster assistance. So far, federal inspectors have visited about 2,900 homes in the 27-county disaster area as of June 30, more than 98% of the requested inspections.

“People sometimes are reluctant to register,” FEMA spokesman Scott Sanders said. “They think they don’t need the help, don’t want the help. There’s going to be more people registering; there’s going to be more damage that we find the more inspections we do.”

The National Flood Insurance Program received 540 claims and approved $12.4 million as of June 28. The U.S. Small Business Administration received 710 applications for disaster loans and approved $12.8 million in loans as of the end of June. Individual disaster assistance comes in the form of grants.

“The goal is to put people back into their safe, secure and functioning home as quickly as possible,” Sanders said.

Once FEMA receives a registration, the property will be inspected. Following the inspection, FEMA will send a determination letter detailing eligibility. If an applicant is determined to be ineligible, the letter will detail the appeal process for that decision.

The designated counties for eligible applicants are Alfalfa, Canadian, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Garfield, Kay, Kingfisher, LeFlore, Logan, Mayes, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner Washington and Woods.

Affected residents and business owners in the newly designated counties may apply for disaster assistance by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number, 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. An application may also be completed online by going to disasterassistance.gov.

To apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans, applicants can visit their nearest disaster recovery center for one-on-one assistance or apply online using SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants can also get more information on SBA disaster assistance by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, visiting sba.gov/disaster or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800-877-8339.


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​Harrison Grimwood

918-581-8369

harrison.grimwood@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @grimwood_hmg

Harrison is an Arkansas transplant in Oklahoma who does his best to keep Tulsa World's readers up to date on breaking news from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone: 918-581-8369