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FEMA disaster center set to close in Jacksonville

Disaster Recovery Center closes at 8 p.m. Sunday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Disaster Recovery Center in Jacksonville opened by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is set to close Sunday night.

The center is set up to help Duval County storm survivors who need to talk to a representative in person.

The DRC, which is at the Johnson Family YMCA at 5700 Cleveland Road, will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The number of households that need help in Duval County keeps growing. Day by day, more applications come in, either online or in person for aid from FEMA. 

Nearly a dozen FEMA workers are on hand at the DRC to assist any needs people have. 

DRCs are temporary disaster resources that allow state and local officials to maximize their reach to as many affected areas and survivors as possible. 

They offer in-person support to individuals and small business owners. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state will be available to provide assistance to anyone with filling out applications or updating their status. 

Voluntary organizations are also available and offer a variety of services to help survivors recover.

Gary Petty, who works for FEMA, said the agency is able to help most people.

“Many of them qualify. There are some who come here, maybe they live in a rental piece of property and maybe they don't get the assistance they expect,” Petty said.

People who come out to the DRC won't be getting their money right away, though. They apply there first and then get approved for it at a later date.

“It's called a disaster because it is a disaster. There are many people across the state who have lost so much,” Petty said.

Across the Jacksonville area, tens of thousands have already requested FEMA assistance. 

Through Monday, 91,123 households had applied in Duval County, 9,586 in St. Johns County, 12,486 in Clay County, 4.939 in Nassau County, 2.299 in Baker County, and 2.998 in Bradford County.

Across the state, 2.2 million people have already applied for aid.  They will share $692 million already approved by FEMA.

Signing up

As more centers open, survivors can locate one near them at https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by calling FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, (TTY) 800-462-7585. 
Helpline numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, seven days a week. DRC information is also available on the FEMA Mobile App. 

The registration process is the first step in recovery and requires information such as insurance policies and bank information for possible direct transfer of funds. Survivors are encouraged to register before visiting a DRC. 

If you have a phone and/or internet access, you may register in one of the following ways: 

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov. 
  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS). If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. 

Information on the registration process is available in ASL at fema.gov/medialibrary/assets/videos/111546

  • Help is available in most languages. 
  • Download the FEMA Mobile App and apply. 

You may have other needs while visiting a DRC: 

  • If you require a reasonable accommodation such as American Sign Language interpreting, Braille, large print, etc., you may call the Helpline number for support at 800-621-3362. 
  • Language translations are offered through Telephonic Interpretation Services in 200 languages. 

Disaster Survivor Assistance crews are canvassing affected areas and are able to register survivors for FEMA assistance if needed. 

Telephonic Interpretation Services are available in many languages to assist survivors with language needs. When residents require further assistance, the teams may refer them to a DRC. 

If you’re already registered, it is not necessary to visit a DRC, but you may still want to go speak with a Recovery Specialist to update your status or find help from the other organizations. 

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits. 

Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but under-insured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled. 
For more recovery information, visit fema.gov/hurricane-irma.