Q: I am not certain if I registered with FEMA. How can I tell? And is it too late for me to apply for FEMA assistance?
A: If you have already registered with FEMA you will have a nine-digit registration number. If you haven’t registered there’s still time to apply. The deadline has been extended to Aug. 19, so register as soon as possible.
Q: I registered with FEMA and I am ineligible for disaster assistance. What do I do now?
A: Carefully read the letter you received from FEMA – you may be able to appeal that initial decision by supplying more information about your situation. You can also call 2-1-1 to talk to someone about voluntary agency assistance for housing, including Habitat for Humanity, or one of the other groups mentioned in these FAQs.
Q: I registered with FEMA and I am ineligible for disaster assistance because I have home insurance. My settlement wasn’t enough to cover all the damage and I can’t move back into my house because it isn’t fully repaired. What is my next step?
A: FEMA may be able to cover your uninsured needs. Submit your insurance paperwork and ask for your application to be reconsidered by contacting FEMA at (800) 621-3362. Meanwhile, call 2-1-1 to ask about voluntary agency assistance for housing.
Also make sure that you have filled out an SBA loan application. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to qualifying renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes. To apply online using SBA’s secure website, click DisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela. You may also mail your application to SBA. The address is 14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243.
Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to replace or repair disaster-damaged real estate. The loans may not be used to upgrade homes or make additions, unless required by local building code. If you make improvements that help prevent the risk of future property damage caused by a similar disaster, you may be eligible for up to a 20 percent loan amount increase above the real estate damage, as verified by the SBA.
In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of a previous mortgage when the applicant does not have credit available elsewhere and has suffered substantial disaster damage not covered by insurance.
Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 from SBA to replace or repair personal property — such as clothing, furniture, cars and appliances — damaged or destroyed in a disaster.
Q: I registered for FEMA and I’m eligible for disaster assistance, but I didn’t get rental assistance. Is there a reason for that?
A: You may have indicated on your initial application that you didn’t want to move from your damaged home. If your situation has changed, call (800) 621-3362 and ask FEMA to reassess your application. You may be eligible for rental assistance.
Q: I registered with FEMA and received rental assistance for two months. But now that has runout. What should I do next?
A: Call FEMA and find out if you are eligible to get additional months of rental assistance. Around two weeks after you got the first rental award, you should have received an application for continued temporary housing in the mail. That paperwork should be completed and returned to FEMA as soon as possible. If you have not received this application, contact FEMA immediately at (800) 621-3362.
Oklahoma Disaster assistance may cover up to 18 months of eligible rental assistance for homeowners and renters who need to relocate. Initial rental assistance is paid in two-month increments. Rental recertification cycles run in 90- and 120-day increments or “cycles.” A review is required in each cycle in order for survivors to remain eligible for rental assistance.
Q: I registered with FEMA and received rental assistance but I can’t find a place to rent. Any suggestions?
A: FEMA’s Housing Portal (http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm) helps individuals and families displaced by a disaster find a place to live. The portal consolidates rental resources identified and provided by federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Veterans Administration (VA), private organizations, and the public, to help individuals and families find available rental units in their area.
Some of the voluntary agencies in Oklahoma can also help you find a place to rent. Help4OK.org is among the many community nonprofit groups that are assisting survivors. An online portal on the group’s website matches survivors in need of housing with hotels and private homes that offer available space.
Q: I’m eligible for FEMA rental assistance but don’t want to leave my property. What are my options?
A: You can use your Direct Housing Assistance to rent a recreational vehicle to park on your property. Survivors who choose an RV to meet their temporary housing needs are responsible for finding the unit and entering into a rental agreement with the owner of the unit. They are also responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and complying with state and local ordinances and zoning restrictions.
Q: I have received disaster assistance from numerous resources, but still need help with home rebuilding skills. Is there an organization that can help with this?
A: Many voluntary agencies in Oklahoma are more than glad to lend advice and a helping hand to repair homes damages to the storms. Call 2-1-1 for more information on which agencies are available to help you.
For example, the Oklahoma United Methodists organization has formed Volunteers in Mission (OKVIM) teams to help repair and rebuild homes destroyed by disaster. For information about the project call the Office of Mission at (405) 530-2028 or go online to www.okumcministries.org.
Q: I received help with temporary housing but now who do I talk to about permanent housing?
A: The Oklahoma Association of Realtors is working with local municipal boards in disaster-impacted areas to help find permanent housing options for survivors. The organization is sharing the information they collect on its website: OKTempHousing.com. Assistance is also available by calling (405) 848-9944.
Another good resource for permanent housing is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which provides low-interest disaster loans to qualifying renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes. To apply online using SBA’s secure website, click DisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela. You may also mail your application to SBA. The address is 14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243.
Voluntary agencies can also help with permanent housing solutions. For instance, two national Habitat for Humanity programs – one for home repairs and one for home replacement – have been tailored to meet the needs of low-income Oklahomans who had their homes destroyed or damaged by the recent disaster. Applications for both programs (in English and Spanish) are available online at http://www.cohfh.org/index.php/programs/Tornado-Info. They can be submitted by mail, fax, or in person at Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, 5005 South I-35 Service Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73129. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information call (405) 232-4828.
Q: I live in a rural area. Is there additional disaster assistance in these locations?
A: Oklahoma disaster survivors living in rural areas can apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Single Family Housing (SFH) loans and grants through USDA’s Rural Development office in Oklahoma. USDA’s definition of a “rural area” is open country or towns with less than 20,000 people outside of metropolitan statistical areas.
Section 504 loans and grants assist low-income Oklahomans in rural areas who already own homes make necessary improvements and repairs to ensure their dwellings are decent, safe and sanitary. Section 504 funds can also be used to repair mobile or manufactured homes. To request an SFH information and application packet, call USDA Rural Development at (405) 742-1070. Applications must be filled out completely and mailed back. The agency does not accept online applications. For more details, click onto the USDA Oklahoma website: www.rurdev.usda.gov/OK_SingleFamilyHousing.html. The phone number for the USDA office in Stillwater, Oklahoma is (405) 742-1000.
Q: I’m a U.S. military veteran living in Oklahoma. Is there any special assistance available to military families?
A: The nonprofit group Operation Homefront provides emergency financial assistance to disaster-impacted military families. Personnel from the organization's Oklahoma-Arkansas field office are on the ground in central Oklahoma providing survivors with rebuilding assistance and additional resources.
The American Legion has allocated $1 million to veterans in Oklahoma to be used to cover relocation expenses for veterans and their families who lost their homes in the disaster. Those who need emergency assistance can call the American Legion’s National Emergency Fund. The phone number is (800) 504-4098. Veterans with legal custody of minor children may seek help though the American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program.
The nonprofit group Disabled American Veterans of Oklahoma is helping disaster-impacted veterans. Click OKdav.org/category/news/ to learn more.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management site at oem.ok.gov or fema.gov/disaster/4117.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/femaregion6 and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov.