Governor Introduces Legislation to Modernize State Disaster Relief Program
January 11, 2010, Kenai, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today transmitted legislation to modernize the state Individual and Family Grant program that assists Alaska households affected by natural disasters. The current statute is two decades old and no longer meets the full needs of disaster victims.
“When I toured the flooded communities this summer I learned that our state individual assistance grant does not go very far,” Governor Parnell said. “We need a dependable and reliable grant from the state that does not need legislative update every couple of years.”
The Individual and Family Grant program currently allows a maximum of $5,000 per affected household. The proposed legislation increases the maximum amount to $14,950 and allows for annual adjustments based on the consumer price index. Currently, the federal Individual Assistance program can provide up to $29,900. That is a slight decrease from last year due to the economic reality of the current year.
The proposed legislation will make the state grant up to one-half of what is available by the federal government during a presidential declaration, which is adjusted annually to the consumer index. This will allow the state grant to continue to be relevant to the current economy. The federal Individual Assistance Grant is given only during the worst disasters, after close coordination and assessments by local, state, and federal entities.
The state Individual and Family Grant program provides assistance when the federal program is not available.
A copy of the bill and the transmittal letters are available at: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/DisasterDecLetter_Jan8-2010.pdf