U.S. Sen. Doug Jones urged President Donald Trump last week to push for approval of individual assistance grants for Alabamians impacted by Hurricane Michael.
While a Major Disaster Declaration was approved last week, it only provides public assistance grants. Public assistance grants help local governments and community organizations, but can’t be disbursed to individuals recovering from a disaster.
“The people of Alabama are grateful for the Public Assistance grants approved in the Major Disaster Declaration dated November 5, 2018, but more relief is clearly needed,” Jones wrote in a letter to Trump. “I am aware that a determination as to the availability of Individual Assistance (IA) grants is still under review, and I urge you to approve IA grants as soon as possible. The effects of Hurricane Michael have been devastating to our state, and without individual federal assistance, many areas may never fully recover.”
IA grants are vital in order for impacted Alabamians to fully recover, Jones’ office said. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has requested IA grants. AEMA also provided additional evidence to demonstrate that certain Alabama counties qualify for assistance.
Neighboring counties in Florida and Georgia have already received IA grants.
“The people and the State of Alabama are resilient, but as in Georgia and Florida, the recovery efforts in this case require resources beyond their reserves,” Jones wrote.
Jones’ office said the senator continues to engage with federal, state and local leaders and residents to ensure that Alabama gets the resources it needs to fully recover from Hurricane Michael, which was one of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall in the continental United States.
Jones visited the Wiregrass region earlier this month to listen to local farmers to better understand the extent of the damage their crops sustained as well as their unique recovery needs, Jones’ office said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has not yet approved the State of Alabama’s application for an agricultural disaster declaration, which Jones supported in a recent letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.