In June 10 Issue
A representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been making the rounds in Russell County stressing the need for homeowners and even renters to register for individual assistance.
“We've only had five people who have applied for assistance,” said Debbie Simon. “If you only had that many people in the county who had claims Russell County wouldn't have been included in the disaster declaration.”
There is a deadline, Simon stressed, “You can register on the phone, online or in person at one of the recovery centers but you have to register within 60 days of the disaster declaration, which was May 11th.”
She said that the agency's website, disaster.gov is a good source for information and assistance, but the recover center in Columbia is the closest and possibly best way to seek assistance.
Simon explained that the centers include not just FEMA staff, but workers from the Small Business Administration.
“FEMA is a granting agency, not a loan originator,” Simon explained. “Those who don't receive approval for a grant can turn right around and see the SBA about loans for home repair and other needs.”
She added that if someone is not qualified for a loan can take that rejection to the FEMA officials in the same office and then could qualify for grants.
Simon called the center at 425 Public Square in Columbia or the centers in the Monroe County or other locations through the state, “one-stop locations for people to get the assistance they need to recover from the May storms.”
Russell County Emergency Services Director H.M. Bottom said that people needed to take advantage of the opportunity to recoup some of the losses they experienced from the extraordinary rain event over Derby Weekend.
“People can can just call 800-621-3362 or go the FEMA website if they want to do it all from home or to get information about what they need to bring in to the center,” Bottom said.
The FEMA information sheets indicated that people must bring their social security number, insurance information, address and zip code of the damaged property as well as directions to it and a daytime phone number with them.