Havre Daily News: Individual disaster assistance approved

Residents of some Montana counties and Indian reservations — including Hill County and the Fort Belknap reservation — may now have some additional assistance available for flood problems.

The U. S. Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama approved Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s request that individual assistance be part of the disaster declaration Obama made for Montana after flooding starting April 3 caused widespread damage in the state.

The disaster declaration Obama made June 17 had only covered public infrastructure. The new declaration now makes damage to private properties and businesses eligible for assistance.

“Many Montana families and businesses can now access an important tool to overcome the devastation and emerge from the flooding disaster stronger than ever, ” U. S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said in a release Wednesday. “Public assistance has been critical for Montana, but Individual Assistance will go the extra step toward helping our businesses reopen, get our ranchers and farmers back in the field and allowing families to clean up, rebuild and recover from flood damage. ”

U. S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., also applauded the announcement.

“Today’s announcement is long overdue and welcome news for Montana families, homeowners and small businesses still struggling in the wake of this year’s flooding, ” he said in a release. “Now our focus turns to rebuilding damaged property and protecting the jobs and livelihoods of Montanans affected by these floods. They deserve smart decisions about their future, which is why I asked for this assistance weeks ago.”

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