RICHMOND, Va. -- The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened in Bluefield, Virginia on Thursday, December 11, is a resource for people who have lost their homes, cars and personal belongings in the severe storms and flooding of November 18-19.
It is important to note that a visit to a DRC is not a substitute for calling the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register for disaster assistance programs. Telephone registration is essential to qualify for assistance.
“I want to clear up any confusion about the application process,” Lou Botta, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer said. “It’s a one call, one-step, process that can be completed from the privacy of your home. You do not have to visit a Disaster Recovery Center to complete the application process.”
If you already have registered by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, you can find additional assistance at a DRC. The lines are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After registering by phone, you may receive a packet from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). DRC staff can help walk residents through the paperwork and can answer questions about programs and processes. For individuals who prefer to talk face-to-face with representatives, visiting a DRC is certainly an option. Other assistance available at a DRC can include:
- Referrals for temporary rental assistance resources
- Referral information about local permitting
- Information about tax assistance
- Referrals to local agencies that provide crisis counseling and legal services
The Disaster Recovery Center in Bluefield, Virginia is located at the Kroger Plaza, Bldg. 713, S. College Avenue. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.