Aid agencies receive reimbursement talk

The Valley joined three other large cities in proactive hurricane relief efforts.
BOARDMAN -- Nonprofit agencies must work through local governments to be reimbursed for costs incurred helping displaced Gulf Coast residents.
Greg Keller, grants administrator for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, briefed about 20 local officials on the process Thursday. The briefing was held in the offices of Boardman Township. The emergency officials came from Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties.
Keller said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will accept reimbursement applications only from local government agencies.
That means nonprofits, churches and other private social service agencies must send their list of costs to the designated local government agency.
Local governments are to forward requests to FEMA. Local government is to send money back to the private agencies once FEMA makes its distributions.
Exceptions are the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Those agencies will deal directly with FEMA on a national scale, Keller said.
FEMA may reimburse up to 100 percent of costs associated with temporary shelter, emergency housing, medical care, transportation, intake centers and emergency operation expenses, Keller said. Administrative costs also are eligible, he said.
The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency is the central contact in Mahoning County, said Walter Duzzny, the director. He didn't know the agencies for the other counties.
It's unclear how much has been spent locally on hurricane relief, he said. Local organizations just now are starting to add up the costs, he said.
Duzzny estimated there are 60 or so Gulf Coast evacuees in Mahoning County.
Other briefings
The briefing was one of four in the state. The others were in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. Those cities prepared for FEMA to send several hundred evacuees their way, but that never happened. Nonetheless, costs were incurred and spending continues.
A briefing was done in the Mahoning Valley because it was the only other part of the state to take a proactive approach to receiving hurricane evacuees, Keller said.
For example, intake centers set up in Youngstown and Warren cost money to operate.

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