Denver, Colo. -- Evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who are living in South Dakota and cannot return home yet can still have their homes inspected, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Hurricane evacuees who have registered with FEMA will be contacted by inspectors to set up an inspection date and time. If evacuees are unable to return home, they can designate an authorized person to be present during the inspection.
The FEMA-contracted inspector will fax the evacuee an ?Applicant Authorized Agent Release Form? which must be signed and returned by fax before the inspection can take place. If the applicant does not have a relative, neighbor or friend that can be the authorized agent, the inspector can offer a FEMA employee to act as an authorized agent and represent the interests of the applicant.
All applicants must provide proof that they occupied the residence to be inspected at the time of the disaster, whether they rented or own the home. Occupancy can be verified with a copy of a drivers' license, other photo identification with address, a utility bill, or a credit card statement showing the physical address of the residence.
Those who do not have written documentation should be prepared to provide the name of their landlord or mortgage company and the name of their insurance company, if they have one.
Homeowners who apply for aid must verify ownership through a property tax receipt, mortgage payment stub, or the cover sheet of the homeowner's insurance policy. If the applicant cannot be present at the inspection, this information should be provided by fax to the inspector before the inspection is scheduled.
If the dwelling is not locked, the inspector can enter to perform a complete inspection. If the home is locked or unsafe to enter, the inspector will do an exterior inspection. Personal property will be visually verified through windows where possible. In many cases, this type of inspection provides adequate verification of damaged property.
Evacuees must register through FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA , ( 1-800-462-7585 TTY), or applying online at www.fema.gov . Applicants should update their FEMA registration information with any change of address or new telephone numbers by calling the 1-800-621-FEMA number, as well as going online.
Disaster inspectors are there only to inspect your damage. If anyone tries to talk you into expensive repairs or requests a fee, call the FEMA fraud detection line at 1-800-323-8603 .