TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama designated Volusia County to be a major disaster area, Community Relations teams hit the ground going door to door to help its residents get the valuable information they need to speed recovery.
As part of a joint effort to spread the word about the disaster declaration and the assistance that may be available to them, Community Relations specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) are in Volusia County contacting storm survivors and informing them about available disaster assistance programs.
"We realize that Volusia County residents and business owners are working hard to clean up and put their lives and properties back together, so Community Relations workers are meeting them at their front doors," said Doug Wright, state coordinating officer. "Recovery is faster once storm survivors understand the process of how to apply for disaster assistance and learn of resources that may be available to them."
In addition to visiting neighborhoods with damage, Community Relations specialists- wearing their familiar blue FEMA and SERT shirts and carrying photo-identification badges- are also distributing thousands of informational flyers to senior centers, community organizations, churches and local officials.
"These highly-skilled individuals are FEMA and the state's front-line disaster workers. They deliver important recovery information to those in need, but they also bring emergency managers invaluable, current information about the needs and conditions in the field," said Jeff Bryant, federal coordinating officer.
When they visit you, Community Relations specialists will provide information about available disaster assistance programs that include:
- Grants to help pay for temporary disaster housing;
- Grants for essential repairs needed to make a residence safe and functional;
- Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for repairing and replacing the storm-damaged properties of homeowners, renters, private non-profit organizations and businesses; and
- Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
Team members are reminding people that the only way to get FEMA's help is to apply directly with the agency. Registering with or receiving help from the state, the American Red Cross or other not-for-profit organizations of any kind, is not the same as applying for FEMA assistance.
To apply for FEMA's disaster assistance visit any open Disaster Recovery Center, go online to www.disasterassistance.gov, or call FEMA's toll-free number at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired. Phone representatives are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week, until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.
Volusia County Disaster Recovery Centers
Holly Hill Community Recreational Center
1046 Daytona Ave.
Holly Hill, FL 32117
308 South Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
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.