Flood notes: Housing task force will help displaced residents

Flood notes: Housing task force will help displaced residents
World-Herald News Service

A new Nebraska task force will focus on connecting residents displaced by flooding with housing options.

Many have had to relocate from flood-damaged houses or towns and are in search of affordable temporary housing or may permanently relocate.

“Towns across Nebraska lost hundreds of homes due to the flood,” Ricketts said in a press release announcing the Governor’s Task Force on Housing. “I’m grateful that friends and relatives have stepped in to give shelter to families displaced by the storm, but we know these families need a longer-term solution. The Task Force will have the expertise and coordinating capacity to provide more permanent housing options in those communities hit hardest by flooding.”

The task force will work with local communities and others to identify housing and infrastructure needs and ways to help affected areas rebuild.

“Nebraskans who are still living out of suitcases after the flood need access to a more stable housing arrangement,” said Dave Rippe, director of the Department of Economic Development. “The Task Force will be able to evaluate the need for housing quickly, gather partners who can address the challenge and pull together resources to get the job done.”

Tips for cleaning mold; free disinfectant is available

Ongoing concerns about mold have officials reminding residents of free disinfectants that target the fungus.

Mold is a common problem after flooding and can cause serious health problems for people living in proximity to it.

Molds are naturally occurring species of fungus that grow best in warm, damp conditions — conditions exactly like those commonly found in flooded homes. Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores that can float through the air and are typically green or black in color. Molds have tiny branches and roots, so they grow both on top of and into materials such as wood.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency notes that a fungicide and wire brushes are needed to remove mold.

In Nebraska, fungicidal disinfectant can be obtained free of charge for flood cleanup at:

» Fremont Mall, 860 E. 23rd St., Fremont (between Nebraska Sport and Gordmans), Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

» LifeSpring Church, 13904 S. 36th St., Bellevue. Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Homeowners still in need of cleanup assistance can call the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 833-556-2476. In addition, homeowners can find more information at heartlandchurchnetwork.com.

More than $2 million raised through Farm Bureau fund

More than $2 million has been collected for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, said Steve Nelson, Farm Bureau president. All of the money raised will go to ranchers, farmers and rural communities needing help, he said.

“The kindness and generosity of people across Nebraska and the United States is humbling,” he said. Yet despite the donations, the need continues to outstrip available resources, he said.

Nebraska has sustained $440 million in crop losses and $400 million in cattle losses.

“Because of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to help more than 150 farmers from across the state and keep more than 10,000 head of cattle alive. This fund is truly making a difference.”

When the fund was launched, the immediate need was for water, food, shelter and medicine. Now, there are longer-term needs, including debris removal, fence rebuilding, and money for fuel to deliver hay to animals and fresh water to people and animals.

To donate or for information, visit: nefb.org.

Disaster declarations updated; relief center news for Custer, Boyd

The disaster declarations for several counties have been expanded so that additional types of projects are eligible for reimbursement. The federal declaration has been amended to include Clay, Dawson, Kearney, Polk, Seward and York.

A federal disaster relief office will be open this week in Broken Bow to help residents in the Custer County area. The office will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday at the Broken Bow United Methodist Church, 1000 S. Third Ave. The centers serve as a clearinghouse for the various types of assistance that are available. Multiple such centers are open across the region. For more information, visit FEMA.gov/DRC

The disaster relief office in Boyd County is changing locations. Effective Wednesday, it will be at the American Legion Post 78 in Spencer.

Deadline is May 20 to register for federal aid

The federal government has designated 27 Nebraska counties and the Santee Sioux Nation as eligible for disaster assistance at the individual level. Residents of those counties are encouraged to apply, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency reiterated this week.

Homeowners, renters and business owners whose property was damaged have until May 20 to apply for aid. The FEMA helpline, 800-621-3362, is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time and people can apply online at disasterassistance.gov.

You must apply with the federal government if you want to receive assistance, according to FEMA. Talking with local officials or the American Red Cross does not constitute an application.

Even if you’ve already cleaned up your property, even if you think others are more deserving, you should still apply, FEMA says.