WARWICK, R.I. -- Disaster recovery officials urge recipients of federal grants to use the money wisely, and keep receipts and other documentation for at least three years as proof the funds were spent as intended.
Upon releasing the funds by direct deposit or check, FEMA sent every recipient a letter providing important information about the grant and outlining how the money can be spent.
Officials say grants are for repairs, temporary housing and other approved disaster-related costs, and ask Rhode Islanders to call FEMA's Helpline with questions.
Housing funds may be used for:
- Repairs to return a home to a safe and functional condition.
- May include repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems, or other structural parts of a home.
- Reimbursement for lodging expenses directly related to the disaster - receipts for these expenses will be requested if the home sustained damages.
- Rental assistance - applicants who must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the initial assistance covers may request more assistance until their home can be occupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made. They must also turn in proper receipts to receive further assistance.
Recipients of Other Needs Assistance may use the funds for:
- Personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, appliances, and vehicle repair or replacement.
- Medical, dental and funeral expenses, and moving expenses.
Grant recipients are required to sign a declaration and a release certifying all funds will be spent on the expenses for which they are intended.
Applicants also should update addresses and phone numbers by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired. Without correct contact information, applicants may miss important correspondence or phone calls regarding their payments or applications for assistance.
By law, FEMA grants, which are taxpayer dollars, cannot duplicate payments from other sources. For example, if a grant recipient receives an insurance settlement covering expenses already paid for by FEMA, those duplicated funds must be reimbursed to FEMA.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.