FEMA Denies Assistance For Flood Damage
But this week the Federal Emergency Management Agency said no to helping residents out with individual disaster assistance, because the majority of homes were second homes.
If FEMA would have granted New Mexico's application for individual assistance, residents could have applied for a small business administration loan, and then got some type of reimbursement.
Now if residents apply and are granted a loan, they will have to pay it all back themselves.
Reynaldo and Candice Valcarcel of Lincoln County were applying for an SBA loan at the agency’s temporary office in Ruidoso Wednesday afternoon. They are taking on a more than $20,000 bridge rebuilding project themselves, because FEMA bowed out.
“FEMA was no help, and the County hasn't been any help either. “We lost access to our house and we can't get to it directly anymore,” said Reynaldo Valcarcel.
They said they don't understand how some communities get bailed out over and over in natural disaster prone areas.
“In a hurricane area where you're going to get a hurricane every couple of years, FEMA comes along and continues to rebuild and continues to put their infrastructure in place. I don't understand that,” said Valcarcel.
And while FEMA rejected the States request for individual assistance, the Small Business Administration said it would do everything it can.
“Our agency is able to provide low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters as well as small businesses and nonprofit organizations,” said Ben Raju, information officer with the U.S. SBA.
It's a step those affected would have to take anyway if FEMA were to help. But now, after the loans are distributed, FEMA will not help pay them pack.
“Any time a disaster impacts an individual, it's definitely an emotional state. In this situation I think more and more people are just happy that the SBA is there to provide the type of assistance that we are,” said Raju.
Until something comes through, the Valcarcel’s will continue to take the path to their home that's far up the street, through two gates, and across a neighbors pasture, disrupting the livestock.
“I would say it takes us easily twenty times as long to get to the house as it used to be,” said Valcarcel.
Residents can head to Eastern New Mexico University in Ruidoso until Oct. 16 to apply for a loan at the temporary SBA office. Applications can also be filled out online. The deadline is December 1 for applications.