FEMA Denies State’s Appeal for Flood Assistance to 1.4M Residents, Home Owners in Illinois

Denial ends process for seeking federal assistance

SPRINGFIELD – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today denied the state’s appeal for federal assistance to help residents in 22 counties recover from 2019’s severe storms and historic flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. 

“Today’s denial is another example of this federal program’s inability to adequately address the needs of local communities,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “States with high population urban areas, such as what we have in northeastern Illinois, often struggle to reach the vague FEMA thresholds, particularly when the impacts are in rural or sparsely populated areas of the state. Once again our poorest communities continue to suffer because of this unfair process.”

On October 18, the state submitted an appeal of FEMA’s earlier denial of assistance to help residents recoup some of their flood-related expenses. Governor JB Pritzker’s emphatic appeal outlined more than $8.2 million in uninsured losses and pointed to severe localized impacts that should have been considered including: uninsured home and personal property loss; disaster impacted population profile; impact to community infrastructure; fatalities; disaster unemployment and the state’s fiscal capacity to recover from this devastating event. 

Under federal rules, the state cannot submit another appeal for federal assistance; however, the state plans to request a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. If approved, an SBA declaration would enable residents and business owners in the approved counties, and its contiguous counties, to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

Additionally, the State of Illinois has a comprehensive flood recovery website dedicated to assisting flood survivors. From mortgage assistance, emergency housing and debris removal, available resources can be found online at www.illinois.gov/2019floods.