FEMA can help with hurricane-damaged homes

Updated: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:12 PM CDT
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BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thomas Papadelias, his wife, and two kids have lived in their house for 25 years. Now they say Hurricane Sally damage has forced them out.

“We pretty much lost everything at the house,” Papadelias said. “I’ve got 16-inch water lines in the backyard.”

The furniture, floors and walls soaked up the water turning it into a loss.

“The neighbors were on a balcony looking down and said it looked like rapids running through your house,” he said.

This is the reality for other people who can no longer stay in their homes. The White House approved a disaster declaration for several counties in Alabama.

That means FEMA can help some homeowners and renters with uninsured and underinsured damage in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia counties.

Papadelias has filed a claim with FEMA for help.

FEMA asks people with a homeowner’s insurance policy to file your insurance claim immediately, before applying for federal assistance.

You can register for FEMA disaster assistance online by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

Businesses could also receive low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.

Casey Gay Williams is the president of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. She calls the loans a “huge deal.”

“FEMA, SBA, all of those things are critical to getting our business community back healthy and up and running,” Williams said.

The Papadelias family’s business also flooded.

“They tore all the flooring out. They cut the sheet rock. They’re brought to bring in the dryers and start the drying process,” he said.

But to Papadelias, losing items means nothing compared to the memories that can be made right in front of them.

“We just couldn’t ask for more than being our family together," he said. "Here’s our memories. This is what this is this is it right here for us.”

Even with the challenges, the family continues to provide free coffee to those who need a breath of fresh air. It’s just another example of people in the area giving back to the community.

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