FEMA registrations continue a month later

$17 million in federal grants approved so far

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than a month after Tropical Storm Debby, people are still registering with the federal government for help.

Last month, Debby's rains came and brought record amounts of rain. That caused flooding and destruction throughout northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $17 million in grants. In addition, the Small Business Administration has approved more than $5 million in loans.

A FEMA spokesman said some homeowners are still being kept out of their homes.

The FEMA center at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and Division Street in Northwest Jacksonville remains open, a location many people still don't know is there. There were still people going in for help Monday.

On Monday afternoon, another thunderstorm rolled through town, bringing heavy rains with it. Every time it pours like that, Shakeva Palmer says rain gets in her house.

"I can still live there. My ceilings are like 9 to 12 feet tall, so I can see the mold coming across," Palmer said.

She said Debby damaged her home more than a month ago, but before Monday, she was unaware of FEMA's presence in the River City.

"I saw a little sign on the edge of the road, so I told my husband, I said, 'Turn around. Let's see where that sign is.' That's how I found out about it," Palmer said.

Palmer is one of about 12,000 Floridians turning to the federal government for help.

Here's a county-by-county breakdown of the number of people who have registered with FEMA so far:

  • Clay: 438
  • Bradford (Starke): 492
  • Jacksonville: 725
  • Columbia (Lake City): 1,327
  • Suwannee (Live Oak): 1903

Ted Stuckey, of FEMA, said there are still people who are unable to get back to their homes.

"There is still areas, of course, that are still under water, people can't get into their homes," Stuckey said. "For those people, I do want to again encourage them to go through that (filing) process."

There are three ways to register with FEMA: in person at a center, online or by calling 800-621-FEMA.

FEMA encourages people with insurance to register. One of the challenges it faces is people disqualifying themselves because they think they're not eligible.

There are programs like the Homeowners Assistance Program that can help out people, even if they have insurance.