Waseca, MN (KROC AM News) - A disaster recovery center opened in Waseca Monday for renters, homeowners and businesses in Minnesota who were affected by severe storms and flooding that hit the state in late September.

Seven Minnesota counties have been approved for individual assistance.

They are: Blue Earth, Freeborn, Hennepin, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele and Waseca counties.

Additional recovery centers will be opening in some of these counties.

The center that opened Monday is located at the Waseca Public Safety Building ( 303 South State St.). It will operate  Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and  Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.  

Another center will open Wednesday in Owatonna at the former Cedarview Nursing Home.

At the recovery center, representatives from FEMA, the Homeland Security Emergency Management division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies explain disaster assistance programs, answer questions about written correspondence and provide literature about repairs and rebuilding to make homes more flood resistant.

Before visiting a recovery center, survivors should register for federal assistance one of the following ways:

Online at DisasterAssistance.gov;
Using the FEMA App; or
Call 800-621-3362 (FEMA).

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Anyone requiring a reasonable accommodation (ASL interpreting, Braille, Large print, etc.) may call 800-621-3362 to request assistance in advance or ask the recovery staff at the center for assistance.

Applying for disaster assistance is essentially a two-step process, which ensures consideration for all FEMA programs and SBA disaster loans. First, register with FEMA, then complete and return the no-obligation SBA loan application, if one is offered. There is no charge to apply for the loan and if approved, no obligation to accept it.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and does not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled.

Check here for more info from FEMA and here for more info from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.