FEMA Winter Storm Assistance Heading To Municipalities, Not Individuals


Thursday, February 18th 2021, 7:05 pm
By: Storme Jones


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Federal assistance is on the way to Oklahoma after President Joe Biden approved Governor Kevin Stitt's disaster request. 

State and federal officials told News 9 that the money is geared toward helping municipalities following the historic winter storm.

Individuals and families who have seen damage likely won't be seeing any help from FEMA. 

A day after talking with Biden, Stitt asked the administration to declare a disaster in all 77 counties. Biden approved the request the same day. 

The bulk of the assistance will go to helping repay cities, counties and tribes for shelters set up to bring people in from the cold. 

The federal government will pay back 75 percent of facility, staff, supply, security and transportation costs. 

The federal assistance will not help Oklahomans with significant damage due to flooding caused by freezing pipes. 

That kind of direct assistance is often offered during a major disaster. The damage threshold for that type of emergency is much higher. 

Another financial concern looming large for Oklahomans is how they will pay their natural gas bill after supply chain issues sent prices skyrocketing. The northeast Oklahoma town of Jay told its residents to brace for bills reaching a few thousand dollars. 

Oklahoma Natural Gas said that they don't yet have an estimate for how high bills could rise. The company said it is working with the Corporation Commission to find a way to ease burden of paying the bills. 

“It’s important that our customers know the company does not set the price that they pay for gas. We purchase the gas from suppliers and deliver it to their homes,” ONG Vice President Kent Shortridge said. 

The company anticipates spikes in natural gas bills will likely start showing up next month.