Disaster Assistance

When there has been a disaster, the road to recovery starts immediately. If recovery is not initiated early on, then the lasting effects may never fully heal.
IndividualsAgencyLocal GovernmentAgency
Individual AssistanceFEMAPublic Assistance GrantsFEMA
CDBG-Emergency Assistance ProgramWI Department of AdministrationCDBG- Emergency Assistance ProgramWI Department of Administration
WHEDA Housing AssistanceWHEDAHazard Mitigation GrantsFEMA/ WEM
Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster SBAFlood Damage Aid ProgramWI DOT
Farm Services Agency (FSA) Emergency Loan ProgramUSDAWisconsin Disaster FundWEM
Disaster Asistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and BusinessesIRS


Individual Assistance

When the President declares a disaster and authorizes providing Individual Assistance, FEMA's Individuals and Households Program (IHP) can help homeowners and renters affected by the disaster with housing needs and necessary expenses.To be considered for IHP housing assistance, the affected home must be the individual's primary residence and it must be located in the disaster area designated for Individual Assistance. To be considered for IHP assistance for necessary expenses or serious needs, the loss must have occurred in the disaster area designated for Individual Assistance. An individual or a pre-disaster member of the household must be a United States citizen, a non-citizen national or a qualified alien.

When a disaster is declared and Individual Assistance is authorized, affected individuals are directed to register with FEMA and to make sure that the information they provide is complete and correct.

Registration can be done in the following ways:
  • Telephone. Call the toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Speech- or hearing-impaired callers can use the TTY number 1-800-462-7585
  • Internet. Go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov
  • At a shelter or Disaster Recovery Center, via a telephone. FEMA will begin using mobile registration intake units to travel to areas where telephone service is not available.
Public Assistance Grants

The objective of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is to provide assistance to State, Tribal and local governments, and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President.Through the PA Program, FEMA provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The PA Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

The Federal share of assistance is not less than 75% of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. The grantee (usually the State) determines how the non-Federal share (up to 25%) is split with the subgrantees (eligible applicants).

For more information please go to FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program website at: https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit

CDBG-Emergency Assistance Program (CDBG-EAP)

The Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program (CDBG-EAP) is a special program the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources (DEHCR) under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended. CDBG-EAP funds are used to assist local units of government in addressing emergency housing, public facility, infrastructure, and business assistance needs that occur as a result of natural or manmade disasters. Such assistance may include, but is not limited to: housing rehabilitation, acquisition/demolition, housing replacement, road repairs, storm water drainage and public facilities.

A local unit of government interested in applying for CDBG-EAP funds must do so within 90 days of the disaster event. Applying within 60 days is encouraged. Cities, towns, counties and villages within the 31 counties included in the federal disaster declaration.

Residents of the municipality awarded CDBG-EAP funds may receive assistance if their dwelling was damaged by the disaster. Municipality will be required to give preference to those households with incomes at or below 80% of the county median. Public Infrastructure affected by natural disaster. Businesses which suffered damage to their structure or equipment and loss of revenue as a direct result of the disaster.

WHEDA Housing Assisance

Provides grants to assist with emergency housing needs. Grants usually go to Red Cross or Salvation Army to offset their costs. Other types of housing resources can also be made available to individuals based on housing needs and the availability of other resources. For more information please visit:https://www.wheda.com/

Hazard Mitigation Grants

Wisconsin is vulnerable to a variety of disasters. The state has incurred disaster-related damages totaling nearly $3 billion in the last three decades, with almost half of that occurring in the '90's alone. These losses can be reduced through mitigation activities. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on mitigation, $4 in future damages can be avoided ($5 for flooding). Hazard mitigation breaks the cycle of damage and repair. Mitigation actions reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. These preventative actions can be simple such as elevating a furnace in a basement that sometimes has water on the floor. Mitigation can also have a comprehensive approach such as relocating buildings out of the floodplain or strengthening critical facilities to prevent wind damage and provide stronger shelter.

Small Business Administration Disaster (SBA)

Loan Programan any county or other political subdivision of the state, at least 25 homes or 25 businesses, or a combination of at least 25 homes, businesses, or other eligible institutions have each sustained uninsured losses of 40% or more of their estimated fair replacement value or predisaster fair market value, whichever is lower; or at least three businesses have sustained uninsured losses of 40% or more of their estimated fair replacement value or predisaster fair market value, whichever is lower, and as a direct result of the physical damage, 25% or more of the work force in the community would be unemployed for at least 90 days.Low interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses for real and personal property losses resulting from the disaster. Economic Injury Loans are also available for businesses.

For more information visit http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/index.html.

Flood Damage

Aid ProgramFunding is only available after an event occurs. Local match is required. Damage must be as a result of flooding. County highway commissioners apply to DOT district offices.Covers restoration of any damages to any roadway or roadway structure that is caused by flooding and is not on the State Trunk Highway System. Also allows improvements made during repairs to help mitigate the future occurrence of similar damages.

For more information please visit: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/localgov/highways/flood.htm .

Farm Services Agency (FSA)

Emergency Loan Programan order for a county to be eligible for Farm Services Agency Emergency Loans due to production loss, the entire county must have suffered at least a 30% loss of normal production (5-year production average).Individual farmers must also provide evidence of having suffered a qualifying severe physical loss, or a production loss of at least 30% in any single basic farming enterprise (combinations of similar type crops or livestock enterprises).

There are three different types of declarations that can be made available, each having a particular application process, an Administrator’s designation for physical losses only, a Secretarial designation for physical and production losses and a Presidential Disaster Declaration. The Administrator’s Designation goes through USDA channels and they notify WEM that a request is being made. The Secretarial Disaster requires a letter from the Governor to the Secretary of USDA, using data from county USDA office. For the Presidential Declaration, the Governor must state in his letter to the President that he is requesting USDA assistance, specifically the FSA Emergency Loan Program.

Wisconsin Disaster Fund

This funding is made available when the state or counties are denied federal disaster assistance or do not meet the federal eligibility criteria. Communities that meet an established per capita threshold in damages can request assistance through the County Emergency Management Director who applies to the Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Management. Tribes can apply directly to WEM.Funding is intended to help local and tribal governmental units recover from disasters. Grants are available on a 70/30 cost share basis for debris clearance, emergency protective measures and damage to road systems.

Disaster Assistance

Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Individuals in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.

Additional Resource

Wisconsin Emergency Management "Disaster Recovery"