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Residents Frustrated With Washington Aid Situation

Arguments break out with city officials.
WASHINGTON - At the same press conference where Governor Pat Quinn encouraged people to register with FEMA, he and other officials got an earful from the public.

“You can't show up at a town hall meeting when you don't have a car, you cannot send a FEMA application when you don't have a computer or internet access. When we get 72 hours (notice) of town hall meetings, people have to work; people are trying to get housing. We need better communication so these issues can be addressed,” said Washington resident April Crotts who said she was acting as an advocate for many uninsured residents.

Mayor Gary Manier said, “I'm engaged. I answer every phone call. I’ve talked with April and the people she works with. I don't shy away from anything. So I’m doing everything I can do from my seat to make sure these residents get what's coming to coming to them.”

Many of Washington’s Georgetown Common Apartments were destroyed. Property manager Tara Denham also had some concerns.
 
“The problem we're running into now is that our residents are getting denied FEMA because certain buildings were marked yellow, others were marked red. The red buildings weren't allowed anyone back in,” she said.

The city took control of the property for the first few days and helped get structural engineers in for an assessment so that residents could retrieve personal items. Units marked red were deemed unsafe to enter.

“Well now the city says there's no report so those red buildings were just denied access in general. It was done by volunteers it was not done by someone who should have made a report, but we were under the impression that that report was done by the correct people,” Denham said.

Mayor Manier said the city will work with the apartment's owner, who is back in control of the complex.

“The property owner has to work with FEMA and the residents to get those folds back to get FEMA into take a look at what's left and what's not left,” he said.

Fema representatives say 152 Georgetown residents have registered already. They say a number of them are already receiving help from FEMA in the form of rental assistance, vehicle damage grants and some were referred to the Small Business Association for a loan.

In order to get personal property assistance FEMA has to inspect the property. The apartment's owner brought inspectors in and sent a letter to FEMA with the findings. FEMA is deciding whether that letter can stand in place of its own inspection.

To residents, FEMA says being denied isn't the end of the process it could just mean they need more information.
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