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If you sustained damage or losses in Georgia due to Hurricane Irma, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency encourage you to visit Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) if you have questions about state and federal disaster assistance.

A DRC is a temporary, readily-accessible facility where you may go for information about state, federal and other disaster assistance programs, and to ask questions related to your situation.

You can meet face-to-face with representatives from GEMA/HS, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, volunteer groups, and other agencies, at the centers to get answers to your questions about disaster assistance.

Some of the services offered at a DRC may include:

  • ·         Guidance about disaster recovery and how you may qualify for assistance.
  • ·         Assistance in applying with FEMA and SBA.
  • ·         Checking on the status of your application.
  • ·         Help in understanding any written correspondence you've received.
  •            Housing assistance and information about rental properties that may be available and that you may not know are available.
  • ·         Information about SBA's low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofits.
  • ·         Referrals to other agencies and state programs that may provide further assistance.

All DRCs offer communication assistance, including captioned phones, iPads with video remote interpreting, assistive listening devices, magnifiers and onsite American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters upon request. If you require a reasonable accommodation (ASL interpreting, etc.) while visiting a DRC, please call the FEMA helpline before you go.

You do not need to go to a DRC to register with FEMA. In fact, survivors are encouraged to register before visiting a center if possible.

The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or through the FEMA mobile app.

You may also register by phone at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines may be busy. Try calling in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

The deadline to register with FEMA and complete and submit SBA disaster loans in Georgia is Nov. 14.

The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofits.

If you are referred to SBA by FEMA, you should complete the loan application even if you do not plan to accept a loan. It is a step in the federal disaster assistance process. Those who do not qualify for a disaster home loan may become eligible for other grant assistance from FEMA. Loans do not have to be accepted if offered but if you turn down a loan, you will not be eligible for additional assistance from FEMA.  

You may apply with SBA online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov

Additional information on the disaster loan program may be obtained by:

  • Calling SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing)
  • Sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov

FEMA Individual Assistance is designed to help survivors with immediate essential needs, housing repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and functional, and temporary rental assistance so they can find a safe place to live until their homes are repaired or until they find other permanent housing options. After insurance, SBA disaster loans are the largest source of rebuilding funds. Many survivors may have additional needs beyond what can be provided by FEMA programs. FEMA works closely with state, federal, faith-based and voluntary agency partners to help match survivors who have remaining needs with other sources of assistance.

For more information on Georgia's hurricane recovery, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4338 and gema.ga.gov

Last Updated: October 18, 2017 11:51 AM

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