Jacksonville, nearby counties can begin applying for FEMA aid

Federal HUD also providing emergency assistance

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor , Allyson Henning - Reporter , News4Jax.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Homeowners, renters and business owners in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Union counties may now apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damages and losses resulting from Hurricane Irma.

Some estimates said the total amount of insurance claims could top $40 billion in the state.

For comparison, 1992’s Hurricane Andrew caused $26.5 billion worth of damage, and 2004’s Hurricane Charley cost more than $16 billion to repair.

To be eligible for federal aid under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, storm damage and losses from the hurricane and flooding must have occurred as a result of Hurricane Irma after Sept.4.

Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. You can call 800-621-3362 (FEMA) 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week. People are also encouraged to register online at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Physical locations for applications will be set up for those who do not have internet access. One of the centers is located at the corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue in Jacksonville.

VIEW: Instructions for FEMA registration

Members of FEMA's Disaster Survivor Assistance Team will be surveying Jacksonville in the most storm-damaged areas of the city, such has San Marco, Riverside, downtown, Ribault and others. FEMA teams will also go door to door, registering people for assistance. FEMA staff will be credentialed and will have identification. 

FEMA reminds people that they never have to pay a fee to apply for federal disaster assistance.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also responded to President Donald Trump's major disaster declaration by offering foreclosure relief and mortgage insurance available both for mortgages and home rehabilitation. It will also make block grants to local governments to help with disaster relief.

In Clay County, FEMA representatives will be at the Middleburg Public Library, 2245 Aster Ave, Middleburg, FL 32068, Thursday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to assist residents who need to register for assistance. You can apply by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or by visiting http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Clay County is also asking residents to call 904-284-7703 or send photo(s) of trees obstructing roadways and property damage with their name and location/address of the location of the damage pictured to Emergency.Management@claycountygov.com.  Know that your submission may or may not get an immediate response.

Residents of Nassau County who have appealed to U.S. Rep. John Rutherford were told that the county had not yet made application for disaster assistance.

Click here to view rumor control information from FEMA. People can also call FEMA's Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721, or the Florida Attorney General's Fraud and Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

According to FEMA, insurance is the first line of defense against damage to your home or business after a disaster. Contact your insurance agent immediately to learn about your insurance policies and their coverage. If survivors also have National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance and suffered damage during the recent floods, they can contact their agent or call 1-800-621-3362 -- select option 2 -- to learn more about their policy.

Information required for disaster assistance

Residents applying for FEMA Disaster Assistance – whether online or at the Flagler County Assistance Center at the Library – will need to have information at the ready.

Applicants should be prepared to provide the following:

  • Social Security Number (one per household)
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposits of funds

Residents can go online to www.disasterassistance.gov

Flagler County residents who would like help filling out the information can go to the Flagler County Assistance Center at the Palm Coast Branch Library between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Friday. The Library is located at 2500 Palm Coast Parkway NW. Those without transportation who need a ride should call the Flagler County Transportation Department at 386-313-4100.

Sheltering, immediate assistance available after Irma

Multiple immediate assistance and short-term housing options are available to support survivors in building a bridge to recovery:

FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA): Focused on sheltering as an immediate priority, FEMA is making Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) available to eligible survivors in the state of Florida, who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either uninhabitable or inaccessible. TSA provides disaster survivors with a short-term stay in a hotel or motel.

Through direct payments to lodging providers, TSA is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accommodations.

Eligible survivors can find the list of TSA-approved hotels on www.DisasterAssistance.gov, and click on the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program – Participating Hotel List link. If internet access is unavailable, the FEMA Helpline (1-800-621-3362) can assist with locating a participating property. Survivors should contact the hotel directly to secure a hotel room prior to traveling to the hotel.

Rental Assistance: Assistance through FEMA’s Individual and Households Program may be available to eligible applicants to secure temporary housing while repairs are being made to the pre-disaster primary residence, or while transitioning to permanent housing while applicant survivor is displaced from their primary residence.

Temporary Blue Roofs: The recent hurricane has left many homeowners with damaged roofs, which can take time to repair. In order to mitigate additional damage that could result from rain, homeowners can have plastic sheeting installed over the damaged area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Currently the USACE, FEMA, and local officials in disaster designated areas are conducting assessments for this program. Additional information will be available in the coming days on how to access this type of assistance, but the first step is registering with FEMA for federal assistance.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for Florida residents whose jobs were affected by Hurricane Irma, specifically those who live or work in the counties included in the major disaster declaration. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm-workers. They can apply for unemployment benefits online at Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.

Disaster Distress Helpline: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) remains open 24/7 for free help coping with the stress of the storm. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be available to help repair flood-related damage to your home or business and replace personal property. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans of up to $200,000 to repair a primary residence, up to $40,000 for homeowners and renters to replace personal property, and up to $2 million to businesses and most private non-profits for physical damage and economic injury needs as a result of the disaster. Survivors need to register with FEMA first to determine their eligibility for any federal assistance that may be available.

Immediate Foreclosure Relief from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may be available for Florida and Puerto Rico residents in disaster-designated areas. HUD is granting a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages. HUD is also offering longer-term recovery assistance to survivors and impacted communities. For more information, visit HUD’s website.

There may be additional forms of immediate assistance available to survivors in declared areas to address critical needs such as water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. When survivors register for assistance they will receive referrals for the programs that may be available to them.

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