Flood damage help for residents at wait-and-see stage

FLINT TWP. — Eight hundred homes in Flint Township were among more than 1,700 households in Genesee County reporting some level of flood damage caused by the record May 4 rainfall, according to Jennifer Boyer, county emergency management coordinator.

In a financial aid update to the township board Monday, Boyer said she worked with a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who arrived May 14 and spent four days assessing local damage, after Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency here.

The FEMA team spent almost three days looking over Flint Township sites which along with Clayton Township suffered the most widespread flooding damage, Boyer said.

When FEMA teams come in they don’t look at every damaged property in making a determination whether the affected area meets a threshold for assistance, she said. Currently FEMA’s assessment is being reviewed at the state level to determine whether to ask for a presidential disaster declaration to receive financial relief.

The damage assessment looks not only at the number of properties affected but also preexisting economic conditions such as unemployment and foreclosure rates, Boyer said.

“Right now we are in a wait and hold (mode),” she said, adding that she will notify the township if and when any assistance is awarded or announced — a process could take 30 days or so,

Boyer also described day-by-day actions taken in the aftermath of the flooding. The county had 72 hours from when the flood hit to submit a request for state and federal assistance. Boyer had met with Flint and Clayton township officials by the afternoon of May 4 which was the basis for county board chairman Jamie Curtis to declare a county state of emergency.

By Sunday, May 6, damage claims were being solicited from residents countywide which Boyer used to “draw a picture” with software to show state officials the extent of damage county residents were dealing with.

By May 11 – one week after the flood – the state had determined damage to severe enough for the governor to declare a state of emergency. FEMA workers arrived three days later.

If flood damage assistance becomes available, Boyer said her office will publicize available programs.

State Sen. John Gleason, who attended the meeting, said he is working to bring the state insurance commissioner to town within a week to 10 days to hold a public hearing for flood victims. That would help the attention of insurance agents and also establish a record of the extent of damages to facilitate getting a fruitful response at the state level. Similar measures were taken in previous year when many homeowners were denied assistance following tornado damage, he said.

Several neighborhood in Flint Township sustained extensive flooding damage.

In a recap of the township’s hardest hit major roadways, Supervisor Karyn Miller said that Linden road was closed under the bridge south of Bristol Road; Miller Road had a foot of water near I-75, Hammerberg Road was closed south of Ballenger and I-69 and I-75 were shut down.

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