The Mat-Su Borough says federal and state officials face a new obstacle as they try to assess damage from severe Southcentral Alaska flooding in recent weeks: “No Trespassing” signs on the property of homeowners who have applied for disaster assistance.
According to borough spokesperson Patty Sullivan, the signs are slowing work by joint teams including members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, who are respecting them when seen.
“(T)eams are encountering a large number of NO TRESPASSING or similar signs (some very blunt) at properties reported to have damage from this event in Mat-Su,” Sam Walton, chief of the division’s Public Assistance branch, wrote in an email to borough officials.
Walton says teams are moving too quickly and examining too much damage to make appointments with homeowners and individually ask for permission to assess properties.
While workers are now asking about signs on properties during the relief-application process, anyone who has already filled out an application is asked to post a “FEMA OK” sign near their "No Trespassing" signs to allow assessments to continue.
The last of several temporary Mat-Su Valley disaster assistance centers where people can apply for assistance, at Wasilla’s Cottonwood Fire Station at the juncture of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway and the Seward Meridian, is set to close at 7 p.m. Friday. A second series of assistance centers in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is set to open next week.
People can also apply for assistance by phone, at 1-855-445-7131, until Nov. 20.
All applicants are asked to have their personal identification on hand, as well as home ownership documentation, insurance information and a description of their damages and/or losses.
Contact Chris Klint