April 30, 2014 | Vol.54 N.18

Commuting Cost Assistance Available For Eligible SR530 Slide Survivors

Commuting cost assistance is now available to eligible survivors of the March 22, 2014 SR530 Slide who are faced with long detours around the closed roadway between Arlington/Oso and Darrington.

As a result of the slide, SR530 remains impassible and the use of alternate routes has significantly increased the residents’ commuting distance and cost.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program’s ‘Other Needs Assistance (ONA)’ provision will help with the increased cost of commuting.  Applicants whose essential commute required travel on SR530 and who are now traveling more than 25 miles one way around the closed portion of SR530, may be eligible.  Essential trips include recurring travel for work, school, or recurring medical appointments.

“This program is the first-of-its-kind for Washington disaster response,” said Kurt Hardin, state coordinating officer for the SR530 Slide disaster. “We believe it will provide significant aid to Darrington-area residents who face lengthy commutes to job sites as a result of the SR530 Slide. For those eligible for this new program,” he added, “eligibility is back-dated to March 22.”        

Applicants are required to meet FEMA’s eligibility criteria in order to be considered for increased commute cost assistance. Self-employed individuals and small business owners incurring additional business costs due to the increased commute should apply to the Small Business Administration for any economic impact or damage their business received as a result of the slide.

To request commute cost assistance, applicants must first be registered with FEMA. Once registered, applicants will receive a Request for Information (RFI) letter asking for names of individuals in the household who have increased commute times; the number of days per week each individual regularly commutes to work, school, or recurring medical appointments; and how many additional miles over 25 one way their daily commute has increased.

This program is one example of continuing disaster partnerships between federal and state agencies. Nonprofit groups and voluntary agencies’ response, in light of this situation, has been tremendous. The American Red Cross has been providing financial assistance to help with transportation, utilities, and other disaster-related needs. Community Transit now operates Route 231, an emergency bus route, between Darrington and Everett until further notice.  For more information on this route, visit www.communitytransit.org/darrington.

“We are working closely with local, state and tribal partners to ensure that all survivors receive the assistance for which they are eligible,” according to FEMA’s Individual Assistance Branch Director Christy Grant. “This assistance will help those impacted by this historic event as they continue in recovery.”  

Local, tribal, state, and federal partners will continue working together as long-term recovery continues.

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