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State assistance center to open Monday in Elkhart County

ELKHART, Ind. – The state will open a disaster assistance center in Elkhart that will help victims affected by last month’s flooding and severe weather.

The one-stop disaster center opens Monday at the Elkhart County Health Department at 608 Oakland Avenue, Elkhart. The center will be open Monday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The American Red Cross and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster will be on site to deliver necessities like food, water, clothing, and other essential items.

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Family and Social Services Administration, Department of Workforce Development, Indiana State Development of Health, Department of Insurance, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana State Board of Animal Health, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana State Department of Agriculture will be on site as well. Representatives will provide immediate assistance and answer questions for those who suffered damage.

State services available include:

  • Housing support: Listing of emergency shelters; listing of temporary housing; emergency housing and short-term rental assistance.
  • Social Services: Replacement and emergency food stamps; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit cards; listing of available child care providers; mental health service referrals; mobile feeding; Red Cross and Salvation Army case work; health coverage application assistance.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Apply for state unemployment benefits or Disaster Unemployment Insurance.
  • Insurance Information: Interpretation of insurance policies by staff of the Indiana Department of Insurance; information on lost or damaged policies; information on obtaining copies of insurance policies; general insurance navigation advice and complaint resolution; car insurance assistance.
  • Public Health Information: Clean up advice and education including mold removal and prevention; vaccination information, including tetanus shots; information regarding free well water testing; access and information to vital records such as birth and death certificates.
  • Transportation Assistance: Vehicle title and registration replacement or apply for a salvage vehicle title via the BMV; replacement of driver licenses and identification cards.
  • Agriculture: Representatives will be available to connect land owners and farmers to various local, State and federal assistance programs; erosion control mitigation and assistance-technical and possible financial assistance form BMP installation; logjam and agricultural field debris removal assistance; documentation and repair of damaged, existing conservation practices/structures; mapping/GIS support; damage surveys and documentation; support for animal and livestock issues.

The help doesn’t stop there. On March 2, 2018, Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen Roberston issued Bulletin 241.

The bulletin directed insurance companies to grant a 60-day cancellation moratorium. That means policy holders directly affected by the recent flooding have an extra 60 days to make their payment without the risk their policies being cancelled or being fined.

This applies to counties throughout the state, but locally it affects those of you living in Elkhart, St. Joseph, and Starke counties. After the 60 day period ends, you will need to start paying those policies again.

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