MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has to date distributed more than $4.1 million in housing assistance funds to help central Alabama residents affected by the severe storms and flooding of May 6-8. Officials from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and FEMA caution recipients to use their funds wisely and well.
Distributed via check or direct deposit, housing funds are intended to help residents meet basic disaster-related needs and begin rebuilding their lives. If an applicant spends the payment on anything other than the purpose for which it is intended, no additional assistance may be granted if the need arises in the future.
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for minimal temporary repairs on damaged homes, temporary housing, or other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. A letter explaining the payment's purpose will arrive within a day or two of the check or direct deposit payment.
Grant recipients are urged to keep receipts of their disaster spending for three years to demonstrate how the money was used to meet disaster-related needs. They are required to sign a declaration and a release certifying all funds will be spent on the expenses for which they are intended. If a recipient receives an insurance settlement to cover the same expenses, he or she must reimburse FEMA. Random audits may be done to confirm funds were spent properly.
Applicants should also update their address and phone numbers as necessary by calling FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. Otherwise, they may miss important correspondence or telephone calls regarding their payments or applications for assistance. Certain government checks cannot be forwarded.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.