If you follow us on social media or you follow the local news, you have already seen that earlier last week, President Biden issued a disaster declaration for parts of Illinois due to our severe weather and flooding in early July. We know that the far Northwest side and Portage Park were hit hard. Given this, our office has maintained constant communication with city and state officials since the initial flooding, and we are writing to share specific updates about the disaster assistance now available. Please know that our office will continue to focus on prevention, response, and relief to the flooding that may very likely happen again.
To receive any federal assistance, you MUST first register with FEMA by October 16th, 2023. This can be done by:
Do not wait for documents or insurance to register. While FEMA can reimburse damage later, they will not do so for anyone who hasn’t registered by October 16th.
Within 10 days of registration, a FEMA inspector will call to set up an appointment to look at the damage. If they are unable to reach you by phone three times, you will be considered a voluntary withdrawal for assistance. This appointment will be used to determine your eligibility for assistance and will provide you an opportunity to show documentation proving occupancy or ownership of property. The inspectors will primarily be looking for damage to a property’s foundation, structural components, critical utilities and function, and the structure of its interior in critical/essential living spaces and rooms. While inspectors do not determine eligibility themselves, you can call the helpline and request an appeal if you think your inspection was incorrect.
FEMA’s assistance includes:
This assistance is meant to meet basic needs, and it is not a substitute for insurance. They are also dependent on damage, and not income.
FEMA will be opening a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the coming days to help anyone with questions, intake documents, or assist with filing appeals. Visiting a DRC is not necessary to receive assistance, but it is great for our neighbors who prefer something in person.
SBA Low-Interest Disaster Loans
After the registration process, some individuals who meet particular requirements will be referred to the Small Business Administration to receive additional, low-interest disaster loans.
Homeowners and Renters: The maximum loan limit to repair and replace the physical structure of the property has jumped from $200,000 to $500,000 after July 31st. The maximum loan limit to repair and replace the contents of the property has also jumped from $40,000 to $100,000 now. The interest rate for these loans may be as low as 2.5%. For homeowners and renters, the deadline to apply is October 16th, 2023.
Businesses and Non-profits: Loans can be used for businesses and non-profits impacted physically, as well as those that were impacted through a slow of business through Working Capital/Economic Injury Disaster loans. The maximum loan limit is $2 Million, with interest rates as low as 4% for businesses and 2.375% for non-profits. For businesses and non-profits, the deadline to apply is May 15th, 2024.
Mitigation Assistance: While resources for SBA mitigation assistance used to be limited to funding mitigation against flooding, they can now be used for mitigation against any other disasters (tornadoes, wind, hail, etc.). The program lends up to 20% of the amount cost and is available to anyone referred to SBA by FEMA.
If the loans are not approved, they will be referred back to FEMA who will try to find other needs assistance on your behalf. The Small Business Administration is opening a Business Recovery Center tomorrow at 4433 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604 to help with this process. While it is intended for businesses and non-profits, homeowners and renters will not be turned away.
For more information, visit
My office will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated on any resources and assistance available. If you have any particular questions, feel free to contact us, and we will try our best to find you an answer.