FEMA Disaster Service Assistance Teams Set To Arrive In Coffee County
Recovery Center To Open
Enterprise Staff Writer
FEMA officials will be in Douglas over the next two to three weeks canvassing Douglas and Coffee County following the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, and a disaster recovery center will be opening later this week. FEMA will make the announcement on the center’s location later in the week.
According to FEMA’s Scott Sanders, teams of two will be all over the county for the next couple of weeks assessing the damage caused by Irma, and disaster assistance is currently available to both the insured and uninsured. The teams will be wearing vests that read “FEMA” and will have FEMA identification.
According to Sanders, 102 Georgia counties have been approved for Public Assistance permanent work (Categories C-G), and all 159 counties are approved for emergency work (categories A & B).
More than $3 million in advance payments have been issued to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders in Georgia, and more than 1,800 NFIP claims have been submitted in Georgia.
More than $8.2 million in grants has been approved for individuals and households to help with critical needs assistance, temporary rental assistance, and uninsured or underinsured damage and personal property losses sustained from Hurricane Irma. This includes: more than $3.9 million in temporary rental assistance; more than $1.5 million in housing repair assistance; and nearly $2.7 million in other needs assistance.
Nearly 27,000 individuals or households in counties designated for Individual Assistance have contacted FEMA for assistance or information on disaster recovery programs.
Disaster survivors have until November 14 to register with FEMA for potential assistance.
Homeowners, renters and business owners in Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Coffee, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties registering with FEMA for disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from Hurricane Irma. The deadline to register with FEMA is Nov. 14, 2017.
According to Sanders, the quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at DisasterAssistance.gov or through the FEMA mobile app.
If individuals have trouble with DisasterAssistance.gov, they can call FEMA’s technical assistance line at 800-745-0243. This number is for technical assistance only.
Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Because of high demand, lines may be busy. FEMA asks callers to “please be patient,” as there is currently a backlog, and try calling in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower.
The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.
FEMA assistance is provided to help eligible hurricane survivors repair their homes to “safe, sanitary and secure” condition for the number of occupants living there. It also may provide for rental of temporary lodging until their home is habitable.
Survivors who receive help from the Red Cross or another organization are not automatically registered with FEMA. Until they receive their FEMA registration number, they are not registered and are not eligible for any assistance.
FEMA assistance will not affect your Social Security or other government benefits and is not considered taxable income by the IRS.
FEMA is also urging citizens to “beware of scam artists,” as “identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on vulnerable survivors as they struggle to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma.
Sanders said the most common disaster fraud practices include “phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations and fake offers of state or federal aid for a fee.”
There is no fee required to apply for or receive help from FEMA, the SBA or the state and local governments.
Survivors who suspect fraud should call FEMA’s Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
According to Sanders, grants are not automatically dispersed upon registering with FEMA, as eligibility must be determined for each applicant. Only one person per household may apply with FEMA.
Please visit www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma-rumor-control for updated, accurate, information on disaster rumors and fraud.