Ill. residents wait for flood relief

Ind. to get federal aid
CHICAGO Cleanup from severe flooding a week and a half ago continues in Indiana and Illinois. Three counties in northwest Indiana have been declared federal disaster areas. Governor Blagojevich has asked for federal aid for Illinois, but residents have yet to hear if that will happen.

Marilyn Dollar estimates that her family has spent about $5,000 cleaning up the basement and replacing appliances at their Albany Park home. And there's no telling yet how much it'll cost to replace the furnace and to fix that new crack in the foundation.

"Right now, it's on a cash basis. Cash out-of-pocket. Savings. That's it," said Marilyn Dollar, homeowner.

A presidential disaster declaration---with the promise of low interest loans and grants –can not happen soon enough for other flood damaged Albany Park neighbors, who last week heard Governor Rod Blagojevich announce that he would make the formal disaster aid application:

"It'll be two weeks Monday that he did that. So why is the governor sitting on it? I have no idea," said Vera Bairdo, resident.

As recently as Tuesday, Illinois Emergency Management Agency workers were still assessing the damage in seven Illinois counties.

"We did not want to do something too hastily that might actually delay assistance," said Spokeswoman Patti Thompson.

Three Indiana counties were approved for aid Tuesday. The low-cost loans now available there will help ensure that contractors--many who began work on only a promise--will be paid.

"We're here to help, but at the same time we can't go in and volunteer all these people's time and material," said Brad Pelton, contractor.

Indiana victims are advised to use the FEMA web page to apply for assistance or to visit help centers that open in tomorrow:

"I haven't had a chance to even think about it. We're just cleaning up and going a step at a time," said Patty Whiting, Munster homeowner.

But Kathleen McCarty--whose home's foundation was cracked by floodwaters--says low interest or not--she wants no part of any government loan program:

"I'm not a debtor. I don't go into debt. So I won't take out a loan. I'll just pay for it," said McCarty.

Once a state files a disaster aid application, it only takes a day or two for the federal government to make a decision, according to Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Illinois residents hope to know something by the end of the week.

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