President Obama signs Virginia disaster declaration making funding available for locals affected by Matthew

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WASHINGTON – President Obama signed a Virginia disaster declaration Wednesday.

By declaring that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia, President Obama ordered federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Matthew since Oct. 7.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

“Thanks to Governor Terry McAuliffe, our state delegation, Senator Mark Warner and City staff for their diligence in working with FEMA officials to get this done,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms. “This assistance is critically important to the hundreds of Virginia Beach families and businesses working to put their lives back together in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. It’s not an easy process to get this federal emergency declaration, however we kept pushing forward and now, our citizens will receive much-needed federal funding to repair, rebuild and recover from this tragic event.”

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all areas within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth due to results of further damage assessments.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance Thursday by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.  seven days a week until further notice.