CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Some West Virginians who suffered losses due to the November storms may face the season with the realization that a normal holiday is beyond their reach. The desire to stabilize a difficult situation for their children and families may lead to the misuse of a housing assistance check, or funds provided for other disaster-related needs.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $10.5 million in disaster assistance through its Individuals and Households program. These funds are authorized to be used for the following purposes:
- Repairs to return a home to a safe, sanitary and functional condition;
- Short-term rental assistance based on fair market rents in the affected area;
- Funds to assist in the replacement of a disaster-destroyed home.
Other Disaster-Related Needs
- Medical and dental needs;
- Serious personal property needs;
- Transportation; and
- Funeral expenses not covered by insurance.
In order to meet the needs of eligible residents quickly, FEMA funds are disbursed by check as soon as approved. A letter explaining the purpose of the check will arrive separately and may be received at a later date. Checks must be used for the intended purpose. Failure to use these tax-free funds as specified may prompt FEMA to recoup the money.
Questions concerning the use of funds or questions concerning an application for assistance may be answered by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired.
To report misuse of funds, fraud, waste, or abuse in FEMA programs call 1-800-323-8603.
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.