Miami, FL -- The closing of three joint Disaster Recovery Centers on Friday, Nov. 10th does not signal the end of available disaster assistance in four South Florida counties according to state and federal recovery officials overseeing the recovery effort.
However, with the deadline for assistance less than a month away, recovery officials urged individuals and business owners in Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties who haven't registered for disaster-related losses to call the toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 as soon as possible. Operators are available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. 7 days a week. Hearing or speech-impaired persons using special keyboard equipment (TTY) should call 1-800-462-7585.
"This is a critical time in the recovery process," said Federal Coordinating Officer Justo Hernandez of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who explained that the deadline for most forms of assistance was set for Monday, Dec. 4th. Hernandez said that some victims of the early October flooding were settling their insurance claims and finding that their losses exceed their coverage.
After registering, homeowners, renters, and business owners may find they are eligible for reimbursement of such expenses as clean-up and minor repairs. Individuals also may find they are eligible for reimbursement for essential disaster-related losses such as replacement of personal property, transportation, and medical and dental bills.
Registered applicants who have not returned their U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) packets are urged to do so as quickly as possible in order to be eligible for additional forms of assistance, including individual and family grants for needs not covered by insurance or other state and federal assistance programs.
The three closed recovery centers are slated to re-open as SBA workshops on Saturday, Nov. 11th to help applicants with low-interest SBA loan applications. The toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 remains available to help applicants who have questions about the status of an application or who wish to update important contact information. (Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may use 1-800-462-7585 as a Helpline number).