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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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FEMA Deadlines For Disaster Recovery Assistance

ORLANDO, FL – The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reaching out to remind you of important dates and deadlines as you proceed with your recovery from Hurricane Irma. Do not miss out on assistance that may be available to you because of a missed deadline.   Some deadlines may be extended, but do not wait. The following information is current as of Oct. 12.

Operation Blue Roof: Friday, Oct. 13

 This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. Eligible homeowners have until Oct. 13 to apply for the assistance and complete the Right of Entry (ROE) form that allows government employees and contractors onto their property to assess damage and install a temporary covering.

A list of open ROE locations can be found on the USACE Jacksonville District websites at www.saj.usace.army.mil/BlueRoof or www.saj.usace.army.mil/blueroof_espanol/ and at 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).  Information is provided in both English and Spanish. To date, 5,131 temporary roofs have been installed.

Florida Crisis Cleanup: Sunday, Oct. 15

Several Florida voluntary relief agencies have been staffing a free hotline for debris removal and home cleanup after the recent severe weather. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the overwhelming need. Survivors needing assistance with home cleanup may call: 800-451-1954 through Oct. 15.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance: Tuesday, Oct. 31

You may be eligible for unemployment assistance if you have become unemployed as a result of Hurricane Irma, are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance, and need unemployment benefits and re-employment services. The deadline to apply for this assistance is Oct. 31.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program: Tuesday, Oct. 31

This program provides short-term, interest-free loans in amounts up to $50,000 for small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during Hurricane Irma. The deadline to apply for this assistance is Oct. 31.

Request for Public Assistance (RPA): Sunday, Nov. 5

FEMA provides grants so that state, tribal, territorial and local governments, and certain eligible private nonprofit organizations can quickly respond to and recover from effects of Hurricane Irma. Eligible applicants are reimbursed for disaster-related costs for emergency response, debris removal and permanent work such as repairs or replacements of schools, roads, bridges and other public infrastructure. The Florida Division of Emergency Management requests that applications for reimbursement under this program be made by Nov. 5. Requests received by that date will then be forwarded to FEMA on or before FEMA’s Nov. 10 deadline. To date, 700 requests for reimbursement have been received.

Individual Assistance: Thursday, Nov. 9

Individuals may be eligible for FEMA assistance for rent, temporary housing and home repairs to primary residences, as well as funding for other serious disaster-related needs. The deadline to apply for this assistance is Nov. 9. Nearly $740 million has been approved to help Floridians recover, and nearly 2.4 million registrations have been received.

The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY).

Due to high demand, lines may be busy. Please be patient, and try calling in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower. The FEMA helpline numbers 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (ET), seven days a week until further notice.

U.S. Small Business Administration Low-Interest Loans: Thursday, Nov. 9

Next to insurance, the U.S. Small Business Administration is the primary source of money for long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. If you apply for disaster assistance with FEMA, you may be referred to the SBA for additional assistance. The filing deadline for physical property damage applications through the SBA is Nov. 9. The filing deadline for economic injury applications through the SBA is June 11. To date, SBA has approved 1,300 loans for more than $47.5 million in Florida.

Immediate Foreclosure Relief: Saturday, Dec. 9

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration-insured home mortgages in Florida. This moratorium expires for Florida survivors Dec. 9.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance

This FEMA sheltering program may assist you if you are unable to return to your pre-disaster primary residence because your home is either uninhabitable or inaccessible. TSA provides disaster survivors with a paid short-term stay in a hotel or motel. If you have received this assistance, you need to keep track of your own checkout date using these options:

• Go online if you have established an account at www.DisasterAssistance.gov

• Call the FEMA Helpline (800-621-3362)

• Check your email and text messages for notification —if you signed up for these when you registered

• Visit a Disaster Recovery Center and ask staff to check your date

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

If you have losses due to Hurricane Irma, you may be eligible for supplemental nutritional assistance through a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture called D-SNAP. The program is known in Florida as the Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program.

The initial application, site locations, dates and times are available on the Food for Florida website. Find your county site location on the Food for Florida (FFF) website: www.myflfamilies.com/FFF.  If you do not live or work in the county hosting the FFF site, you may be asked to wait until your county opens. Applicants whose counties have closed may try to come to another county site, but should expect long lines and extended wait times.

NFIP Grace Period Extension for Policy Renewals

National Flood Insurance Policies with an expiration date of August 7, 2017, through October 6, 2017 are eligible for a grace-period extension. Payment for those policies must be received within 120 days of the policy expiration. The NFIP cannot pay a claim for a flood loss that occurs after a policy expiration date unless the policyholder’s insurance company receives the payment in full for renewal on or before the last day of the grace period. 

Need More Recovery Information

visit www.FEMA.gov/IrmaFL, or follow us @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and on FEMA’s Facebook page.

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