Jackson, MS -- Most federal and state disaster assistance programs are designed to meet emergency needs in the form of disaster grants for immediate housing requirements and emergency repairs. These programs are meant to help people begin their recovery; they are not designed to return people's lives to their pre-disaster conditions.
By contrast, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) help homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes begin the long-term recovery process. SBA is the primary source of long-term disaster recovery loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes.
Understanding the steps of the federal/state recovery process can help people reduce the confusion brought on by a disaster, sort out the information available, and make the decisions required to begin rebuilding lives.
During disasters, emergency services including medical, fire, and evacuation, are provided by local and state first-responders. Short-term emergency needs, such as shelter, food, and clothing, normally are provided through a number of voluntary agencies like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and faith-based organizations, among others.
Registering For Federal/State Disaster Assistance
- The only way to register for federal/state assistance is to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free number at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585). This is the ONLY way to get the recovery process moving!
- You will be asked general information about your income, your insurance and how badly your residence or business was damaged. You should give details about your housing needs.
- You will be given a control number, which will help locate you in the system in the future. Write this number down so you will have it handy at all times.
The Assistance Process
- Within a few days, A FEMA inspector will call you to make an appointment to visit your damaged home or apartment.
- The FEMA inspector will come and look at disaster-related damages as they relate to federal and state programs.
- If you qualify for the FEMA disaster-housing program, within approximately one week after your inspection you may get a check and a letter explaining how you may use the check. You may get checks from other programs later.
- This U.S. Government check may be used for rental assistance if your home or apartment is unlivable because of the disaster.
- If you are a homeowner, the check may be a FEMA housing repair grant for essential repairs to make your residence safe, secure and sanitary.
- The housing repair grant is only for essential needs and for primary rooms such as the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
- FEMA cannot replace all you lost, but we can give you a helping hand on the road to recovery. Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate individuals for their entire loss. If an individual has insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under their insurance policy.
The SBA Process
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may send you a loan packet after you make that first call to 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) to apply. It is very important to complete this packet and return it.
- If the SBA determines you cannot repay a loan, your name may then be forwarded for consideration under the Individual and Family Grant Program (...