2010-04-08 / News

FEMA assistance available for island residents

Disaster assistance is now available for Jamestown residents who suffered losses related to severe storms and flooding beginning on March 12.

Disaster officials with the R.I. Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency urge people with uninsured or underinsured losses to register for help as soon as possible.

Register online at www.FEMA. gov or call FEMA at 800-621- 3362 from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. It will take about 15 minutes to complete the process.

Before contacting FEMA, gather the following basic information to speed up the process:

• Your Social Security number

• A telephone number where you can be reached

• The address of the damaged property

• Your current mailing address

• A brief description of disaster related damages and losses

• Your insurance information

• Direct deposit information to help speed delivery of funds

There are no costs related to registering for or receiving federal disaster assistance.

Some of the types of assistance that may be available to eligible applicants through FEMA’s individuals and households program are:

• Temporary housing: Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.

Repairs: Grants to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance, with the goal of making the damaged home safe, sanitary and habitable.

Other needs assistance (ONA): Grants for necessary and serious needs caused by the disaster, including medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage, and other expenses that FEMA approves. Homeowners may need to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan before receiving this type of assistance.

Completing and returning a SBA application is an essential part of the recovery process. If an applicant is found ineligible for a SBA loan, he or she may be referred for ONA or to other disaster services agencies. Call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800- 659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice@ sba.gov for more information.

FEMA disaster assistance helps individuals get safe and sanitary housing and meet other critical needs so they can begin their long-term recovery. Assistance is not automatic, but is calculated based on the losses of each individual or household that files and qualifies.

Renters or homeowners who suffered any damage or loss should apply for assistance; there is no need to wait for an insurance inspection. When an insurance inspection is conducted, insurance coverage may not be adequate and some foundation damage may not show up until later.

If an insurance settlement is delayed, call FEMA. Individuals can also call FEMA if the settlement does not cover losses or if the additional living expense benefi t is exhausted. Failure to file with an insurance company within 12 months can affect a person’s eligibility for FEMA assistance.

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