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A ‘One-Stop-Shop,’ Disaster Recovery Center Opens In Reedsburg

Sauk County Residents Can Find Help Registering For FEMA Assistance, Loans

house gutter in rain

Eight Wisconsin counties received a presidential disaster declaration earlier this month, in the wake of widespread flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency declaration makes funds available to people struggling to rebuild.

Sauk County got hit especially hard by the flooding this summer.

The county has tallied more than $5 million in damages to businesses and about $10 million to individual homes across the county, Sauk County Emergency Management Director Jeff Jelinek said. It’s too early to accurately assess the agricultural damage.

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“We have so many people right now that are either displaced or their property is in shambles,” Jelinek said.

There’s plenty of mold, and because the groundwater table remains high, people are still dealing with water in their basements.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done yet,” Jelinek said.

As of Friday, there’s a place residents can go: a disaster recovery center in downtown Reedsburg located at 1375 Main St.

“Right between the Pizza Hut and Jay’s Power Center,” said Jelinek. “It’s a one-stop shop” for people whose homes and businesses are flood damaged, he said.

Staff from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Sauk County, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and more will be on hand to answer questions and help people register for grants and loans.

Even if people registered with the county’s emergency management earlier in the year, Jelinek said they’ll need to register with FEMA directly. People can do so online or at the center; the deadline for FEMA’s individual assistance is Dec. 17.

To ward of scams, Jelinek also urged residents to check for identification if someone claiming to be FEMA comes to their door.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest loans to homeowners and renters, not just business owners, Jelinek said. In the past, some residents had problems with their foundations once spring came and the ground thawed, and a business administration loan could help offset those costs, he said.

In addition to providing a road map through various flood assistance programs, Jelinek said the center’s representatives will be there just to talk.

“We’ll listen to them and we’ll give them encouragement where we can,” he said.

The center in Reedsburg will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays until it’s no longer needed.

The city of Madison has indicated that a similar center will open up for Dane County residents in the coming weeks.