FEMA denies aid for victims of Illinois flooding

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CHICAGO (AP) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has decided against helping victims of last summer's record flooding in the Chicago area.

In a letter to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, FEMA administrator Brock Long says the agency determined damage from flooding in Cook, Lake, McHenry and Kane counties was not beyond the state's capability to address. Officials announced the decision Monday.

Rauner asked President Donald Trump for the major disaster declaration on Aug. 31, after torrential rains caused flooding from mid- to late July. State officials reported the floods damaged more than 3,200 residences, including 244 with major damage.

Instead of federal grants, Rauner is now asking for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration for the victims in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. To qualify for SBA assistance, at least 25 homes or businesses in a county must suffer major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more.