Individuals with damage from floods asked to report damage to county

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Freeborn County’s emergency management director encouraged individuals with damage from heavy rains dating back to June 16 to share their damage estimates with the county as they work to get assistance for individuals from the state.

An online form is available on the Freeborn County website,

Rich Hall stated so far, 25 people have filled out the form, and damage has included bowed walls, as well as sewage and water in basements. He said he would like to get some adequate numbers to possibly get individual assistance for people in the county who qualify.

Email newsletter signup

He estimated they will probably keep gathering data for another 15 days.

When asked if there was a minimum amount of damage that needed to be met, Hall said he has been told to not underestimate water in basements and that in the past he has seen numbers used of 6 inches of water in a basement or $3,000 or more in damage qualify.

When FEMA officials come in, he said they will first ask individuals about homeowners insurance and any other types of money individuals can get. Individuals have to be denied homeowners insurance to qualify, and then they would offer probably a Small Business Administration loan. If the homeowner is denied that loan, FEMA would then come in and provide some money up to $36,000 based on the damage.

“They’re not going to come in, in a lot of cases and make people whole,” he said. “They’re going to help them with certain things.”

Regarding public assistance, Freeborn County was one of 22 counties in Minnesota approved for a federal disaster declaration over the weekend.

Hall said public assistance includes everything from debris removal and emergency protective measures to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities and parks and recreation for government entities and cooperatives, including Freeborn-Mower Electric Cooperative.

Some of the initial assessments he has seen thus far include about $60,000 from the Freeborn County Highway Department, $18,000 Alden Township, $8,000 from Mansfield Township, $20,000 from Carlston Township, $42,000 from Geneva Township, $45,000 from Nunda Township, $62,000 from Hayward Township and $165,000 from the Turtle Creek Watershed.

The big factor is the city of Albert Lea. Costs for repairs to the forced main break are still being calculated. He said he is anticipating a lot more damage reported from that as well as with other townships and cities.

For public assistance, a date will be set where FEMA officials will come in and meet with representatives from the townships and cities for damage assessments and make sure everything is covered that possibly could be, Hall said. Officials generally meet about individual assistance the same day, and then FEMA officials will go out throughout the county to known addresses, as well and knock on nearby homes to speak with those owners about any possible additional damage.

He warned people about scams and stated that Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state and county officials will never ask to go into a house. They, instead, will get information from people and take those people at face value for that information.

Hall said the timeframe that the declaration will cover is from June 16 forward and will remain open until the last river crests in the state, which will likely be the Mississippi River in Houston County.

Other counties included in the declaration for public assistance included: Blue Earth, Carver, Cass, Cook, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Jackson, Lake, Le Sueur, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, St. Louis, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Watonwan.