OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division are urging residents of the declared counties: Benton, Cowlitz, Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom, to register for disaster assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) and to use the money wisely once they begin receiving disaster assistance checks. They may also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn stressed, "We urge people in the affected counties, homeowners and renters, to apply for disaster assistance, get their nine digit registration number and to use the money for its intended use. It is meant to help them get started on the road to recovery."
Officials emphasize that housing assistance grants are available to homeowners and renters. They are tax free and not a loan. All applicants who qualify will receive a letter explaining how the money should be spent. FEMA and state officials urge people to use the assistance for its intended purpose.
Grant recipients should keep receipts of their disaster spending for three years to demonstrate how the money was used to meet disaster-related needs. Random audits may be done to confirm funds were spent properly.
Housing funds may be used for:
- Repairs to return the home to a safe and functional condition: These may include repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems, or other structural parts of a home.
- Rental assistance: Applicants who must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the initial assistance covers may request additional assistance until their home can be re-occupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made.
- Down payment to replace a home that has been completely destroyed.
Those interested in receiving disaster assistance must register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Once they have completed the application by phone or online, they will receive a 9-digit registration number. It is important to retain this number. It can be used to track their application and to amend it if necessary.
Additionally 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and www.fema.gov can be used to get more information about the Individuals and Households Program.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.