In addition to the self-help efforts of individuals and families and the efforts of local government, voluntary agencies are a key part of the effective response to and recovery from a disaster.
Voluntary agencies such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are an essential part of any disaster relief effort,
providing critical assistance with food, shelter, clothing, household items, medical expenses, clean-up, repairs, and rebuilding.
Some voluntary agencies are available to assist in emergencies in all communities; others may only be able to assist in disasters that affect specific regional areas.
Voluntary agencies assist whether or not there has been a presidential disaster declaration, coordinating with each other and with government officials to meet a community’s disaster needs.
If you have had a disaster, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross or other social service agencies. You can obtain the numbers of these agencies by looking in your local phone book.
Some public assistance recipients may be eligible for assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services. If you are a public assistance recipient who has been through a disaster, contact your case worker for additional information.
If a disaster is of sufficient magnitude to warrant a presidential disaster or emergency declaration, federal disaster assistance programs may be made available
to help individuals, families, homeowners, renters, businesses, and units of government recover from the disaster. The programs that may be available are Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers an
American Sign Language video with answers to frequently asked questions about Federal Disaster Assistance.
Individual Assistance Programs
Individual Assistance Programs include grant programs administered by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration.
These programs provide assistance to individuals, families, homeowners, renters, and businesses. If these programs are included in a presidential declaration, the public will be notified of the declaration through the local media.
Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) - Apply for Assistance
web page provides detailed information on the Individual Assistance Programs.
Public Assistance Program
The Public Assistance Program makes grants available to state agencies, local government organizations, and certain private non-profit organizations that incurred costs or damage as a result of the disaster.
Units of government and eligible private non-profit organizations within the area declared a disaster will be contacted by state and local officials so that they may apply for grants.
Detailed information on the Public Assistance Program may be found on the web at
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Public Assistance Program and
Illinois Emergency Management Agency - Eligibility Information.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to state and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.
The purpose of the grants is to implement measures to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Find detailed information on the
Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) - Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
For Additional Information