Press Releases

Press Releases

Press Releases

FEMA Expands Outreach in Western North Carolina

Tue, 21 Sep 2021 20:32:51 +0000

FEMA Expands Outreach in Western North Carolina

FEMA Expands Outreach in Western North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams are going door-to-door in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties and two mobile registration centers will continue operating in Haywood County this week.

FEMA mobile units, which began operation Sept. 18, are at these locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Sept. 24:

  • East Fork Baptist Church -- 13175 Cruso Rd, Canton, NC 28716 
  • Canton Recreation Park -- 77 Penland St., Canton, NC 28716 

FEMA personnel at the centers can help residents in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who were impacted by Tropical Storm Fred apply for federal assistance. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also will have personnel at the sites to answer questions and refer applicants to the two Business Recovery Centers SBA is operating:

  • Haywood Community College Regional High-Tech Center, 112 Industrial Park Dr., Room 3021, Waynesville, N.C. 28786. Hours are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, 1465 Sand Hill Rd., Suite 1054, Candler, NC 28715. Hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–2 p.m., closed: Sunday.

The DSA teams are going door to door to help residents apply for FEMA assistance, offer referrals to other resources, check the status of an existing application and answer questions about disaster assistance.

DSA teams wear FEMA attire and have federal photo identification badges. FEMA personnel never ask for money.

There are several ways to apply for FEMA assistance: Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA app, or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Multilingual lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time, seven days a week. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 8, 2021.

For more information about Tropical Storm Fred recovery in North Carolina, visit fema.gov/disaster/4617 and ncdps.gov/TSFred. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. 

brianasummer.fentonTue, 09/21/2021 - 20:32

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More than $9.3 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance Approved for the Severe Storms and Flooding in Middle Tennessee

Tue, 21 Sep 2021 21:06:59 +0000

More than $9.3 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance Approved for the Severe Storms and Flooding in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One month after the federal disaster declaration for the Aug. 21 severe storms and flooding in Middle Tennessee, more than $9.3 million in federal funds has been provided directly to Tennesseans to aid in their recovery.

Help for survivors in the designated counties of Dickson, Hickman, Houston and Humphreys includes grants from FEMA and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Policyholders in the National Flood Insurance Program have also been receiving payouts for their claims. As of Sept. 20, more than 2,200 Tennessee households have contacted FEMA for help.

  • As of Sept. 20, Tennesseans received more than $9.3 million through funding from FEMA and SBA.
    • Of that total, more than $3.7 million in FEMA individual assistance has gone to homeowners and renters whose insurance, or other forms of disaster assistance received, could not meet their disaster-caused needs. More than $1.2 million has been provided to residents for Other Needs Assistance, which includes grants to replace damaged personal property as well as expenses for transportation, medical and other disaster-related needs.
    • Homeowners, renters and businesses have been approved over $4.4 million in low-interest disaster loans from SBA to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.
  • As of Sept. 20, NFIP policyholders received more than $5.1 million in more than 46 claims to repair and rebuild flood-damaged property.
  • More than 1,900 survivors visited three Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs). The first center in Waverly (Humphreys County) opened Aug. 28, less than one week after the presidential disaster declaration, and remains open.
  • Approximately 1,200 FEMA housing inspections have been completed.
  • FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists canvassed the affected communities and interacted with more than 1,100 survivors to encourage them to register for help, while providing them with recovery information and listening to their concerns.
  • The deadline for survivors to apply for federal aid is Oct. 25, 2021. Survivors can apply for FEMA Assistance in any of the following ways:
    • Online through DisasterAssistance.gov
    • Download the FEMA app to a smartphone or tablet.
    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). 
    • Because of the recent hurricane and other severe storms, flooding and fires across the country, wait times may be long. Please be patient. Lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

Assistance to local, county and state governments:

Local, county and state government infrastructure and certain private nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, in Dickson, Hickman, Houston and Humphreys counties are eligible for Public Assistance. This includes debris removal, emergency protective measures taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health or safety. Public Assistance also includes permanent repair or replacement of public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, as well as public facilities, such government buildings, schools and parks.

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bree-constance…Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:06

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Read Your Determination Letter Carefully

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 21:41:42 +0000

Read Your Determination Letter Carefully

TRENTON, NJ – Hurricane Ida survivors who have registered with FEMA and applied for disaster assistance might have or will receive a letter explaining the current status of their application.  FEMA also communicates with applicants through electronic notification via email, online through disasterassistance.gov/, or letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

It is strongly encouraged that survivors read that letter very carefully.  This letter informs the types of assistance FEMA has determined you are eligible or ineligible to receive, the amounts of assistance FEMA is providing for each eligible need, the reasons an applicant is ineligible for the applicable types of assistance, an explanation of the appeals process, and other key information regarding disaster assistance, including proper use of disaster assistance funds..

If FEMA requires more information to process an applicant’s request, an applicant may receive a letter requesting additional information.  For example:

  • Utility bills to prove the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster;
  • Insurance paperwork that is still pending, which will determine other programs the survivor will be eligible for with FEMA;
  • A pay stub or a government-issued picture ID that has the damaged property listed;
  • Proof of home ownership like copies of mortgage payments or a house deed to prove ownership;
  • A renter’s lease to prove occupancy; or
  • The completed U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan application.

If the survivor has complied with all of FEMA’s requests and is still deemed ineligible but disagrees, you may appeal the decision. FEMA reviews applicant’s written appeals and documentation received supporting the appeal. Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money, or continuing help. You must appeal within 60 days of the date on your eligibility notification letter.

The applicant’s appeal letter must explain the reason(s) for appeal (why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance is not correct) and must be signed by the applicant or person who the applicant authorizes to act on their behalf.   The appeal submission should also include the following information:

  • Applicant’s full name
  • Applicant’s FEMA Application Number and Disaster Number
  • Address of the applicant’s pre-disaster primary residence
  • Applicant’s current phone number and address

Be sure to date and sign the letter. Include your nine-digit FEMA registration number on each page.

Mail the letter to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055, or fax the letter to 1-800-827-8112.

Appeal letters and supporting documentation also can be uploaded to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov.

For questions about the letter or the entire appeal process, applicants should call 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585Operators are currently on duty seven days a week, twenty-four (24) hours a day

For questions about eligibility letters, survivors can visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.

If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting disasterassistance.gov/.

If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines are currently operating twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number, if available
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

As soon as it is safe to do so, start cleaning up. Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

Businesses and residents can apply online at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. For questions and assistance completing an application, call 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. SBA will answer specific questions about how a disaster loan may help each survivor recover from the disaster damage.

amir.nijemMon, 09/20/2021 - 21:41

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DRC Open in Essex and Morris Counties

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 21:57:04 +0000

DRC Open in Essex and Morris Counties

Trenton, NJ – Disaster Recovery Centers opened today in Essex and Morris counties to help residents in New Jersey affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.  

Representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are available at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs, answer questions about written correspondence and provide literature about repairs and rebuilding to make homes more disaster resistant.

The DRCs are located at:

  • Essex County: Kmart – Co-located with a Vaccination Center, 235 Prospect Avenue #9413, West Orange, NJ 07052
      • Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday ET;  8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and Closed Sundays
  • Morris County: Morris Plains Community Center, 51 Jim Fear Dr., Morris Plains, NJ 07950
      • Open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Monday through Thursday; Closed: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Individuals in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties are eligible to apply for disaster assistance.

Survivors can ask questions or seek further information in person at the DRC, in addition to online or by phone. Survivors can visit any of the DRC locations and find their closest location through the FEMA App.  To download the FEMA App please visit the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Additional centers are open in the following locations:

  • Hudson County: Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center, 1379 Paterson Plank Rd., Secaucus 07094
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Hunterdon County: Union Fire Company #1, 230 N. Main St., Lambertville 08530
      • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Bergen County: Ciarco Learning Center, 355 Main St., Hackensack 07652
      • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Saturday; Closed Sundays
  • Mercer County: Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Trenton 08638
      • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Middlesex County: Middlesex Fire Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Drive, Cafeteria B, Sayreville 08872
      • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Passaic County: Civic Center, 19 Warren St., Little Falls 07424
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Gloucester County: Mullica Hill Library, 389 Wolfert Station Road, Mullica Hill 08062
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Somerset County: North End Volunteer Fire Company #3, 169 North 8th Ave., Manville 08835
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Union County: Elizabeth O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center, 618 Salem Ave., Elizabeth 07208
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

FEMA and NJOEM are committed to opening DRCs in each of the designated counties. These additional centers will be opening soon to support survivors.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting disasterassistance.gov/.

If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate are currently operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number, if available
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

Disaster assistance may include financial help for temporary lodging and home repairs along with other programs to assist families recover from the effects of the event.

amir.nijemMon, 09/20/2021 - 21:57

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DRC Opens in Hudson County

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 15:07:27 +0000

DRC Opens in Hudson County

Trenton, NJ – A Disaster Recovery Center opened today in Hudson county to help residents in New Jersey affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.  

Representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are available at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs, answer questions about written correspondence and provide literature about repairs and rebuilding to make homes more disaster resistant.

The DRC is located at:

  • Hudson County: Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center, 1379 Paterson Plank Rd, Secaucus, NJ 07094
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m.to 2 p.m. Sunday 

Individuals in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties are eligible to apply for disaster assistance.

Survivors can ask questions or seek further information in person at the DRC, in addition to online or by phone. Survivors can visit any of the DRC locations and find their closest location through the FEMA App.  To download the FEMA App please visit the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store

Additional centers are open in the following locations:

  • Hunterdon County: Union Fire Company #1, 230 N. Main St., Lambertville 08530
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Bergen County: Ciarco Learning Center, 355 Main St., Hackensack 07652
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Saturday; Closed Sundays
  • Mercer County: Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Trenton 08638
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Middlesex County: Middlesex Fire Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Drive, Cafeteria B, Sayreville 08872
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Passaic County: Civic Center, 19 Warren St., Little Falls 07424
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Gloucester County: Mullica Hill Library, 389 Wolfert Station Road, Mullica Hill 08062
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Somerset County: North End Volunteer Fire Company #3, 169 North 8th Ave., Manville 08835
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Union County: Elizabeth O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center, 618 Salem Ave., Elizabeth 07208
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

FEMA and NJOEM are committed to opening DRCs in each of the designated counties. These additional centers will be opening soon to support survivors.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting disasterassistance.gov/.

If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate are currently operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number, if available
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

Disaster assistance may include financial help for temporary lodging and home repairs along with other programs to assist families recover from the effects of the event.

amir.nijemMon, 09/20/2021 - 15:07

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Read Determination Letters Carefully

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 16:02:40 +0000

Read Determination Letters Carefully

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- If you have registered with FEMA and applied for disaster assistance after the Remnants of Hurricane Ida, you might have received a FEMA letter by regular U.S. Postal Service mail or by email.

Read that letter very carefully. It may include eligibility notifications and/or request for more information. Eligibility Notification letters inform the applicant of the types of assistance FEMA has determined you are eligible or ineligible to receive, the amounts of assistance FEMA is providing from each eligible need, the reasons you are ineligible, an explanation of the appeals process, and other key information regarding disaster assistance, including proper use of funds.

If you receive an ineligible decision, it isn’t always the final word. If you disagree with a FEMA eligibility decision you may appeal the decision. FEMA reviews the applicant’s written appeal and documentation received from the applicant supporting the appeal. Upon review, FEMA either provides a written decision to you or requests more information. If FEMA upholds a decision on an appeal, FEMA’s decision is considered final and will generally not be reconsidered.

It could be that you just need to provide more information. Maybe:
  • You didn’t prove the damaged home was your primary residence at the time of the disaster, or that you lived in the home at the time. FEMA has recently expanded the types of documentation that FEMA will accept to support your request for assistance.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application has not been returned. This application is used to determine if you may be eligible for other grant programs or assistance.  Not returning the application will disqualify you from them and you do not have to accept a loan if one is offered.

If you disagree with a FEMA eligibility decision you may appeal the decision. FEMA reviews the applicant’s written appeal and documentation received from the applicant supporting the appeal. Upon review, FEMA either provides a written decision to you or requests more information. If FEMA upholds a decision on an appeal, FEMA’s decision is considered final and will generally not be reconsidered. You can appeal your eligibility, the amount or type of help provided to you, a late application denial, a request to return money, or continuing help. The appeal must be sent to FEMA and postmarked within 60 days of the date the decision letter is received. To appeal, follow these steps:

  • Explain the reason(s) for appeal and must be signed by the applicant or person who the applicant authorizes to act on their behalf.
  • Include your full name, date of birth, current address, disaster number, and FEMA registration number.
  • Be sure to date and sign the letter. Include your nine-digit FEMA registration number on each page.
  • Applicant’s signature with one of the following: Notary stamp or seal; or the statement “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
  • Mail the letter to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.
  • Or fax the form to 800-827-8112.
  • Appeal letters and supporting documentation can be uploaded to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov if you have set one up.
  • For questions about the letter or the entire appeal process, you can visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or by calling 800.621.3362. If you use a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service.  Operators are on duty seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

For referrals to agencies that support community specific need, contact your nearest 211 counts center at https://www.211nys.org/contact-us.  In NYC call 311 for outlying area, call 211.

zella.campbellMon, 09/20/2021 - 16:02

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How to Document Home Ownership and Occupancy for FEMA

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 16:27:28 +0000

How to Document Home Ownership and Occupancy for FEMA

How to Document Home Ownership and Occupancy for FEMA

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – As part of the disaster assistance process, FEMA must determine ownership and occupancy of damaged primary residences. Recently, the agency took steps to make it easier for disaster survivors in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who experienced flooding from Tropical Storm Fred to verify ownership and occupancy.

Owners and renters must be able to prove they occupied the disaster-damaged primary residence before receiving Housing Assistance and some types of Other Needs Assistance. FEMA now accepts a broader range of documentation:

Ownership:

  • Homeowners may provide official documentation such as:
    • The original deed or deed of trust to the property
    • A mortgage statement or escrow analysis
    • Property tax receipt or property tax bill
    • Manufactured home certificate or title

 

  • In addition, FEMA will now accept a public official’s letter or receipts for major repairs or improvements. The public official’s statement (e.g. police chief, mayor, postmaster) must include the name of the applicant, the address of the disaster-damaged residence, the period of occupation and the name and telephone number of the official providing the verification.
  • Survivors with heirship properties, mobile homes or travel trailers who do not have the traditional documentation of ownership may self-certify ownership as a last resort.
  • Homeowners with the same address from a previous disaster only need to verify ownership one time. FEMA has also expanded the date of eligible documents from three months to one year before the disaster.

Occupancy:

  • Homeowners and renters must document that they occupied the dwelling at the time of the disaster.
  • Applicants may provide official occupancy documentation, such as:
    • Utility bills, bank or credit card statements, phone bills, etc.
    • Employer’s statement
    • Written lease agreement
    • Rent receipts
    • Public official’s statement

 

  • FEMA will now accept motor vehicle registration, letters from local schools (public or private), federal or state benefit providers, social service organizations or court documents.
  • Applicants can also use a signed statement from a commercial or mobile home park owner, or self-certification for a mobile home or travel trailer as a last resort.
  • If survivors have successfully verified occupancy to FEMA from a previous disaster within a two-year period, they do not need to do it again.

Applicants in North Carolina who need free legal assistance regarding home ownership documentation and cannot afford an attorney may call the Disaster Legal Aid hotline at 866-219-5262. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours on Monday and Thursdays are from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. More information is available at www.legalaidnc.org/.

To apply for FEMA disaster assistance, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-3362, or use the FEMA app for smartphones. If you use a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time, seven days a week. The deadline for applications is Nov. 8, 2021.

For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

For more information about Tropical Storm Fred recovery in North Carolina, visit fema.gov/disaster/4617 and ncdps.gov/TSFred. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. 

brianasummer.fentonMon, 09/20/2021 - 16:27

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Four Years After Hurricane María, 76 Percent of the Projects Have Allocations from FEMA

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 11:55:51 +0000

Four Years After Hurricane María, 76 Percent of the Projects Have Allocations from FEMA

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – The rebuilding of Puerto Rico after Hurricane María encompasses a revitalization of the infrastructure, health and education sectors as well as other areas that presents and improvement in the long-term quality of life of all its citizens. For this purpose, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocated more than $25 billion corresponding to 8,460 projects, which boosts the growth of the construction industry on the island and helps reactivate the local economy.

Close to 2,000 projects have been completed or are under construction with the help of FEMA funds. These projects, which include roads, public service buildings and recreational facilities represent an injection of over $44 million. These advances in recovery result from the efforts made between the federal government and the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) to help address the areas affected by the biggest storm in the modern history of the United States. Each project helps restore the activities in the communities and provides a new beginning for the structures that were left inoperable after the hurricane.

“The recovery’s rhythm accelerates when working in unison with the municipalities, the state government and COR3. All the elements that are part of this historic moment for the Island play an essential part for this recovery to be a successful. This past year we allocated funds for a record number of projects and we trust that the recovery will continue moving in that direction.” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, José G. Baquero.

Economic Revitalization

The economic injection on the island after Hurricane María is one without comparison. This is how Alba Brugueras-Fabre, President of the Puerto Rico Association of Economists, describes it, who mentioned that no other disaster-related federal aid for the island matches the significance of FEMA's multi-million-dollar investment in the island. Brugueras-Fabre added that “there is an impact that goes beyond the present, because as these projects are completed, we will see more changes in our country.”

She highlighted that the effect of the funds will be multi-sectoral, including the banking, housing market and construction, sectors.

In agreement is the President of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, Umberto J. Donato Solís. The architect explained that the multiplier effect of the recovery funds opens the door for the development of the local economy that transcends the construction sector. Donato Solís mentioned that the sector is ready for the increase in works to be made and that the true opportunity of rebuilding falls on the sustainable growth of Puerto Rico as a result of the capital resources resulting from the recovery.

Reconstruction work progress

At a municipal level, the total of funds allocated represents access to $1.9 billion for permanent works in order to have strengthened and more resilient structures against future disasters.

According to the Federal Recovery Coordinator, one of the areas where the reconstruction activity is most visible are parks, community centers and community recreational places in the neighborhoods of the country. “These facilities are part of the residents’ lifestyle and are the cornerstone of the neighborhoods. That was the feeling at the Juan F. “Cheo” López Baseball Park in Camuy, where the town’s AA baseball fans recently gathered for the first night game in four years thanks to FEMA funding. Likewise, today, more than 1,000 families from Hormigueros and Aibonito can now enjoy repaired basketball courts with an allocation of over $2.2 million. This results in the broadening of the activities offered for the community’s wellbeing,” stated Baquero about the repairs to parks and recreational facilities that reach $816 million.

For his part, the Executive Director of COR3, Ing. Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, acknowledged the need to renew the local infrastructure and the historic opportunity that this represents for the socioeconomic development of our people.

“Without a doubt, the reconstruction began and to guarantee its continuation we are implementing diverse initiatives like the State Cost Share Fund of $750 million, we simplified the funds disbursement process and we are working alongside FEMA to address the Subrecipients doubts and facilitate the infrastructure renovation process,” affirmed Laboy Rivera.

Adjustments in face of Climate Change

On the other hand, climate adaptation is an initiative that promotes communities to be ready to face the impact of global warming, like the rise in sea levels and the development of more extreme storms.

About 84 percent of the reconstruction projects under FEMA’s Public Assistance program have funds that seek to strengthen structures beyond what they were before the disaster and address some of the major risks associated with climate change.

One of the most efficient ways to face climate variations is the use of materials that resemble nature. They help filter and channel the rain to prevent floods, among other benefits. The sowing of grass to protect the slope in various streets of the Playa Añasco neighborhood, for example, is a way of addressing the problem of land erosion. To this end, an allocation of about $2.4 million from FEMA supports the Island’s road safety. In addition, some $93.2 million through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is intended to strengthen the structures that were not damaged by the hurricane. With the threat of climate change effects, these funds add long-term value and resilience. To date, the projects approved by HMGP have an estimated cost of $1.3 billion.

According to meteorologist and climate change expert in Puerto Rico,  Ada Monzón, the extreme variation in climate represents the “biggest problem facing our planet,” as it brings an increase in the Earth's and ocean’s average temperature and contributes to an increase of category 4 and 5 hurricanes, among other characteristics.

“The resilience of our island is tied to the ability to cope with extreme events and sea level rise and how we empower our leaders and communities to make the right decisions. If we do not do it, each time it will cost us more money and more lives.” said Monzón, who added that the island has the tools and solutions, but education and willingness to think about the common good is needed.

Equity integrated into the recovery

The opportunity to rebuild the island takes into account vulnerable populations and sectors that are disproportionately affected during disasters. These areas of the country where there is a greater concentration of low-income families, people with functional diversity and where unique challenges are faced are part of the long-term planning.  The Agency is collaborating with municipalities to identify barriers and incorporate viable solutions that address accessibility issues in their tourism resources.

FEMA’s Disability Integration team (DI) collaborated with various municipalities on the first federal and state project to eliminate access barriers on tourism-related facilities to be repaired with federal funds. Concrete steps include the acquisition of signs in Braille writing at the Punta Tuna Lighthouse in Maunabo for people who are blind to enjoy a more inclusive tourism experience.

Together with the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA, and its local staff of over 790 Puerto Rico residents, is working to continue to allocate funds and move the recovery forward.

To access more information on the recovery of Puerto Rico from Hurricane María, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow us on social media at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr.

 

frances.acevedo-picoMon, 09/20/2021 - 11:55

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Pennsylvania/FEMA Disaster Center Will Open in Chester County to Help Pennsylvanians

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 18:12:05 +0000

Pennsylvania/FEMA Disaster Center Will Open in Chester County to Help Pennsylvanians

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania / FEMA Disaster Recovery Center located at Ashbridge Square Shopping Center, 945 East Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown opened on Monday, September 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. to help those whose homes or personal property were affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida between August 31 -September 5, 2021.

The Chester County DRC Location and Hours Are:

Ashbridge Square Shopping Center (next to Staples and Home Depot)

945 E Lancaster Ave

Downingtown, PA

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Chester County DRC will be closed on Sundays

Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from Pennsylvania state agencies, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, learn about the appeals process and get updates on applications.

Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center is not required to register with FEMA. To register:

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a center, call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish);
  • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish), also available at Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Disaster Recovery Centers are accessible to people with disabilities. They have assistive technology equipment that allows disaster survivors to use amplified telephones, phones that display text, amplified listening devices for people with hearing loss, and magnifiers for people with vision loss. Video Remote Interpreting is available and in-person sign language is available by request. The centers also have accessible parking, ramps and restrooms.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program is designed to help survivors with immediate essential needs and to help displaced survivors find a safe, functional place to live temporarily until they can return home. Many survivors may have additional needs beyond what can be provided by FEMA. The agency works closely with state, federal, faith-based and voluntary agencies to help match survivors who have remaining needs with other sources of assistance.

For information about SBA’s disaster assistance, call 1-800-659-2955, email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

Additional agencies and services will be present once the DRCs reach full operational capability next week. All centers will follow COVID-19 precautions and masks will be required by both FEMA specialists and survivors.

For updates on the Pennsylvania response and recovery, follow the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency twitter.com/PEMAHQ on Twitter and Facebook https://m.facebook.com/PEMAHQ/.

For more information on how to register, please visit: How to Register with FEMA for Disaster Assistance in Pennsylvania | FEMA.gov

For more information on what to expect after you register, please visit: What to Expect After Registering for FEMA Disaster Assistance in PA | FEMA.gov

For more information about Pennsylvania’s recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4816.

The registration deadline for FEMA Disaster Assistance in Pennsylvania is November 10, 2021.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, you can call the Civil Rights Resource line at 833-285-7448 or 800-462-7585 (TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 

Follow us on Twitter attwitter.com/femaregion3 and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/femaregion3

amanda.hancherMon, 09/20/2021 - 18:12

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FEMA Awards $8.9 Million for Hurricane Irma Recovery in Florida

Mon, 20 Sep 2021 12:20:00 +0000

FEMA Awards $8.9 Million for Hurricane Irma Recovery in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – FEMA has awarded grants totaling $8,912,357 for the State of Florida to reimburse applicants for debris removal, emergency response, repairs and administrative costs following Hurricane Irma in 2017. ­

The FEMA Public Assistance program grants include:   

  • Miami-Dade Public Schools: $2,316,803 for removal of more than 12,640 cubic yards of vegetative debris, 80 hazardous leaning trees and 294 hanging limbs from  school buildings, fences and playground equipment,   

  • Miami-Dade Public Schools: $2,121,482 for removal of more than 19,700 cubic yards of vegetative debris, 4,577 hazardous leaning trees and hanging limbs from school buildings, fences and playground equipment, 

  • Volusia County: $1,559,061 for emergency measures taken to protect life and property, including the cost of emergency pumping for wastewater lift stations, evacuations, medical care and transportation, placement of barricades, safety inspections, security and staffing the emergency operations center.

  • Vero Beach: $1,476,514 for repairs to power lines and poles, power generation, transmission and distribution facilities caused by severe flooding and high winds.

  • Lee County Electric Cooperative, Inc: $1,438,497 for the administrative costs of tracking and accounting for labor, equipment, materials and other expenses after the storm. 

The program provides grants to state, tribal and local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations, including some houses of worship, so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. The Florida Division of Emergency Management works with FEMA during all phases of the program and conducts final reviews of FEMA-approved projects.

The federal share for Public Assistance projects is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost. The state determines how the nonfederal share of the cost of a project (up to 25 percent) is split with subrecipients such as local and county governments.

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                   FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Nadine.JonesMon, 09/20/2021 - 12:20

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