Survivors of the March 31 EF-1 tornado and severe storms have another resource to assist them through the recovery process.
A Disaster Recovery Center has opened at 791 83rd Ave. in Merrillville. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, as well as May 8 and 9. It’s also open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, and May 10. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the state of Indiana, and the U.S. Small Business Administration will be on hand to answer questions, assist with applications for FEMA assistance, and provide referrals to other resources.
Those who choose to apply for FEMA assistance without visiting a Disaster Recovery Center can do so by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, visiting disasterassistance.gov, or by using the FEMA app.
When applying for assistance, please have the following information ready:
▪A current phone number where you can be contacted
▪Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
▪Your Social Security Number
▪A general list of damage and losses
▪Banking information if you choose direct deposit
▪If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name
The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is June 14, 2023. For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw. Residents can also visit the link provided below to learn more about the inspection process that occurs after applying for assistance.
The March 31 EF-1 tornado and severe storms caused destruction in several areas of the Town. The Forest Hills and Madison Meadows neighborhoods were the hardest hit locations.
Merrillville officials immediately collaborated to jump into action following the weather event to assist residents. The Street Department was busy moving debris and clearing streets throughout the municipality. The Fire Department on many occasions had to travel on foot to check on residents and respond to calls because of the significant number of debris in the streets. Merrillville opened the Dean and Barbara White Community Center as a shelter for those affected by the tornado and storms.
Town administration worked with Waste Management (Merrillville’s waste hauler) to have 30-yard walk-in Dumpsters stationed in neighborhoods, and Merrillville coordinated additional pickups for the affected areas.
Construction activities will be needed to address storm-damaged homes, and that work will require building permits. The Town is waiving permit fees for affected homes.
Although the tornado and storms caused extreme damage, Town officials are thankful there were no reported injuries following the weather event. Town officials were on site along with emergency departments assisting residents. -Rick Bella, Town Council President