GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Governor Snyder declared a state of disaster for 19 counties and two cities on Wednesday, to support ongoing local efforts to respond to the severe flooding that has affected parts of Michigan.
Thursday, officials from the Federal Emergency Management agency began assessing the damage in West Michigan.
FEMA will compile a report and send it to Gov. Snyder. He will then decide whether or not to ask the federal government for disaster assistance.
Three weeks ago, kayaks and boats were the only way homeowners could begin to assess their flood damaged homes in parts of West Michigan.
In other neighborhoods like Grandville, it was with waders, to sludge through sewage back-up.
Thursday, it was everyone's first chance to find out what FEMA may be able to do to help.
A 28th Street apartment was one of FEMA's first stops.
"The reason we're here -- state and FEMA representatives -- is to see if any of these people or the area qualify for any public or FEMA assistance funding," Michigan State Police Lt. Therese Cremonte told the apartment managers, who didn't want to go on camera.
Lt. Cremonte works under the MSP Emergency Management Division.
The state and FEMA have split into five teams, and will tour all of West Michigan in the coming days.
"You've let us know what your economic impact is for your business, for the buildings, but we want to know what the individual impact is as well," Lt. Cremonte told the apartment managers.
Aside from the apartment, the teams are heading to downtown businesses impacted by the overflowing Grand River, and to residential areas.
FEMA, along with the small business administration, look at each one on a case by case basis, said Ted Stuckey, public information officer with FEMA.
" Were they displaced from their home, was their home damaged, each agency looks at it from their own perspective," said Stuckey.
Take Plaza Towers; many residents were forced to evacuate for 17 days.
"Most of the residents were in the upper levels so the units themselves were not damaged. But they were displaced and there was some damage in terms of individual property that was stored in the basement," said Lt. Cremonte.
Lt. Cremonte says there's no guarantee anybody in West Michigan will get assistance from the federal government.
"We cannot make anyone any promises," she said.
But they do promise to assess every flooded home and business.
"We're prepared to stay as long as it takes," said Stuckey.
If you haven't already reported damage to your home, you're encouraged to do so at miOttawa.org. Make sure to keep pictures and receipts to show costs you incurred during clean-up. Click on the Governor's Declaration of Disaster near the top of the page, and continue to monitor that webpage for flooding updates.