FEMA teams urge storm victims to apply for assistance - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

FEMA teams urge storm victims to apply for assistance

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FEMA is providing grants and loans to storm victims who qualify. FEMA is providing grants and loans to storm victims who qualify.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Workers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster teams are visiting neighborhoods hit by the April 28 tornado outbreak.

They are encouraging everyone who suffered damage to apply for a FEMA grant, especially those without insurance. The maximum grant available is more than $32,000. Most people don't get that much, but any amount can help.

Karen Robertson is in the process of fixing up the storm-damaged residence of her mother. Fixing up the house has so far proved time-consuming; they still don't have their final check from the insurance company.

"We still don't have light in here," said Robertson during a tour of the property. "Flooring would be nice, especially for my mom - she needs to have something to walk on other than dirty plywood."

Karen and her family are sizing up their options with FEMA, just in case.

"It's not a lengthy process, but they do ask you a lot of questions," said Robertson. "The insurance comes out and a lot of times there's a delay. With FEMA, they can help out in short-term situations."

FEMA's Nate Custer said grants are essential for those who had no insurance when disaster struck. He said no matter how extensive the damage, there is no harm in applying for help.

"The FEMA grant can provide money for basic home repairs to make their home safe, secure and functional," he said. "Minor damage, major damage - don't hold off registering because you feel the person down the street needs the help more than you do. Everyone will be considered."

Robertson said she can easily think of others for whom FEMA grants would be beneficial.

"I think especially for homeowners that have small children, it's really important because I think there would be more aid for people like that," Robertson said.

Grants do not have to be repaid. If insurance and grants do not cover the cost of all your repairs, you can also apply for a FEMA loan, which would have to be repaid over time.

"Let's say you got your insurance 10 years ago and your home is only insured for $100,000," said Beverlyn McDonald with the Small Business Administration's Office of Disaster Assistance. "It's going to cost you 150 to repair; you're $50,000 short. That's where SBA comes in; SBA gives loans for uninsured, uncompensated actual damages - in other words, your actual loss."

For people like Karen Robertson, it's a comfort to know that no matter what your individual situation, there are options available to help rebuild.

Help is also available for people who may have lost their jobs due to the floods and tornadoes between April 28-May 2. This includes people who didn't lose their position, but were unable to go to work because of the storm and went unpaid during that time.

Click here to learn how to apply for FEMA assistance via phone, online, or in-person. Click here to apply for an SBA loan.

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