Baton Rouge, LA -- State and federal officials announce the opening of a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) on Monday, October 7, in St. Bernard to assist those affected by the damage and losses caused by tropical storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili. DRCs also are open in Slidell, Houma and New Orleans.
The St. Bernard DRC is located at 4301 Bayou Road in the Sebastian Roy School in St. Bernard.
It is necessary to call FEMA's toll-free teleregistration number, 800-621-FEMA (3362), for losses from Hurricane Lili even if you have already called for damages from tropical storm Isidore. People with hearing or speech impairments may call (TTY) 800-462-7585. Disaster recovery officials strongly suggest applicants register before they come to the DRCs in order to avoid delays.
All DRCs are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
The centers are staffed by personnel who can answer questions and provide recovery information and written materials about various assistance programs available to individuals and business owners.
Information on the following types of housing assistance is available:
- Lodging Expenses Reimbursement: Covers costs of short-term lodging, such as hotel rooms when a home is unlivable or inaccessible. Paid receipts for the lodging expenses claimed must be provided.
- Emergency Minimal Repair Assistance: A check to help with repairs needed to make a home livable, as determined by a FEMA inspection. This will not address all damage, or restore to pre-disaster condition.
- Temporary Rental Assistance: Assistance available for a limited time to give applicants safe housing. Based on fair market rentals in their area.
- Mortgage And Rental Assistance: To pay rents or mortgages when eviction or foreclosure is about to happen because of disaster-related income loss. Applicants must be living in the home and must be able to document a substantial reduction in household income due to disaster-related lost employment or business income.
The Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG) helps people who may not find other disaster recovery resources and programs to meet essential and necessary unmet needs, according to disaster officials. The grants do not have to be repaid and are tax-free, but there are conditions attached. Money must be spent on disaster-related losses such as home repair, replacement of essential personal property, transportation, medical, dental or funeral expenses.
Other disaster programs include low interest U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans, disaster unemployment assistance and crisis counseling.
State Coordinating Officer Art Jones and Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell urge those with questions to visit one of the centers.
"There are many programs available for homeowners, renters and businesses," Jones said. "This is an opportunity for people to sit down with different agencies and get their recovery process questions answered."