For immediate release: Sep 17, 2008
Posted by: [GOV]
Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

State insurance, housing staff available to help flood victims

MUNSTER, Indiana (September 17, 2008) - Representatives from the state's insurance, motor vehicles, and housing agencies will be in northwest Indiana beginning Thursday to help flood victims.

Governor Mitch Daniels, who visited flooded areas on Tuesday, said the state would begin to quickly provide the available state services and today, he sent Andy Miller, the director of the Office of Disaster Recovery, to meet with city and town officials from Lake and Porter counties, as well as state elected officials from the area, to implement plans.

Beginning Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, representatives from the Indiana Department of Insurance, Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) will be at Family and Social Services Administration offices in Hammond, Hobart and Gary. Addresses are 661 Broadway in Gary, 1001 West 37th Avenue in Hobart, and 420 Hoffman Street in Hammond. Additional days and hours will be determined by the end of the week. (Note: the BMV will be at the Hobart office on Thursday and the Hammond office on Friday. FSSA and BMV are housed together at the Gary office).

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) applications WILL NOT be available at these locations.

The Department of Insurance will answer questions about any type of insurance; the Housing Authority will help identify short-term housing options for families that have been displaced because of flood waters, and the BMV will assist with such services as replacement drivers licenses and ID cards.

On Tuesday, the governor signed Executive Order 08-16, which declared a disaster emergency for Lake and Porter counties. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is currently assessing damage in northwest and southern Indiana that occurred when remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through the state last weekend. As soon as that assessment is completed, Governor Daniels will send a formal request for federal assistance to the President.

If the federal government approves the governor's request, applications for federal assistance will become available at that time. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Small Business Administration (SBA) applications or assistance are not available at this time.

Should the state's request for federal assistance be approved, the governor will open one-stop assistance centers in the region that will provide more state services.

In the meantime, severe weather victims are urged to report their damage by calling the toll free number 888-335-9490. Reports can be filed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday. The Indiana Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives is taking the reports.

Callers will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number, damage to property and type of damage the property sustained. Losses can include structural damage to homes and loss of personal property. This is not an application for any assistance program, including FEMA; it is a part of the process the state is using to request federal assistance.

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