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Long term recovery group formed

Several business and community leaders were gathered together Tuesday, May 10 to hear about the long term recovery process from the March 21 tornado.

Jack County Judge Keith Umphress said “an amazing job” had been done with the recovery to this point with many experts saying the area is about three months ahead of schedule with recovery. Now is time for the long-term recovery (2-3 years) to begin.

Umphress said the county’s emergency relief fund has about $126,000 and added 126 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged in the storm with almost 300 homeowners affected by the storm countywide.

County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Hefner said local wind farms had a bout $5 million in damage with 33 towers being damaged. Hefner said that after speaking with jack County Appraisal District officials around 50 applications for residential tax reduction due to the storm

Yolanda Stokes with the Small Business Administration said her organization has opened an office on the fourth floor of the Jack County Courthouse as of May 9 to take funding applications for low interest loans to help businesses, homeowners and renters as well as non-profit groups get back on their feet. Interest rates for the loans range from 1.4 to 2.9%.

“We have agents there that will guide you through the whole process,” Stokes said. “Homeowners are eligible for up to $200,000 in repair or replacement and $40,000 for their contents. Renters are eligible for $40,000 in content replacement.” The loan would be for up to 30 years with up to five months being deferred, Stokes explained. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

The local office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

The deadline to apply for property damage is July 5, 2022. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Feb. 6, 2023, Stokes said.

Jeremy Bassett with the United Methodist Committee on Relief said his organization is working on hiring case managers from the local community to help homeowners go through the process of getting money from their organization as well.

All training will be provided with the job lasting around two years. Bassett said each case manager getting about 35-40 cases to handle. The city and county will be handling payroll and benefits for the case managers until grant funding comes in to the tune of more than $1 million, Bassett said.

Case managers will be responsible for presenting each case to the Long term Recovery Committee which will go over each case and determine their need and funding. The committee will be independent of both city and county control, Jacksboro City Manager Mike Smith said.

A list of those affected by the tornadoes been compiled, Bassett said. Case managers will take an independent eye and go back to those places and see what is still needed. They will also see if anyone was missed in the initial go around.

“It will be the first time the case managers will have seen these files, so there’s no preconditions. It’s a fresh set of eyes,” Bassett explained. “They will also be trained to watch for signs of depression and what to look for and advised on how to recommend how to get help.”

Bassett said the homeowners themselves will determine what they need but will not receive funds for items they have already purchased.

Hefner said the faster people get hired for positions the faster the recovery can continue.

“We can’t let people drag their feet on this because we need them to step forward,” Hefner said. “The county can’t do it for them. The city can’t do it for them.”

Jacksboro Newspapers

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Jacksboro, Texas 76458

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