BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Although the deadline to register for federal assistance for the April tornadoes has passed, federal, state and voluntary agencies remain active in Alabama and they urge disaster survivors to stay in touch to maximize their recovery. Here is contact information for several of the agencies that are helping Alabamians work on storm recovery.
1. Specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are on foot and on the phone helping families with losses from the April storms. Families who applied for help from FEMA are urged to stay in touch with the agency to track the status of their applications, provide up-to-date contact information or appeal a FEMA decision. Appeals must be mailed or faxed within 60 days of the FEMA decision letter. FEMA helpline numbers are 800-621-FEMA (3362) and TTY 800-462-7585. Phone lines are available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. The FEMA website, www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is available anytime.
2. The U.S. Small Business Administration has nine temporary one-stop shops—called disaster loan outreach centers—where applicants for low-interest loans can get information and updates. Those who applied for an SBA disaster loan and received a letter declining or withdrawing their application have six months from the date of that letter to request a review or to have their application reconsidered. To track a disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time or send an e-mail to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Persons with a speech or hearing disability may call 800-877-8339.
3. An assortment of programs and many community and faith-based volunteers are available through 2-1-1 Connects Alabama to help storm survivors get back on their feet. Dial 2-1-1 at any time or go online http://211connectsalabama.org/ to get information and referrals.
4. The Alabama Department of Mental Health, FEMA and local agencies have partnered to provide a toll-free crisis counseling hotline and personnel to provide outreach and crisis counseling support to anyone with a need. Individuals with Alabama area codes may call 800-639-REBOUND (7326) at any time to speak with a counselor or to learn about other family resources. The department’s website www.mh.alabama.gov has free publications to help all members of a community cope with stress. Registration for disaster assistance is not required for disaster-related mental health services. Calls are confidential.
5. Free help for disaster-related legal problems is available from a team of volunteer lawyers of the Alabama State Bar. Call 800-354-6154 to speak with a lawyer about lost documents, resolving financial and ownership disputes and other legal complications from the disaster. The phone line operates from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. Visit www.vlpbirmingham.org/disaster-legal-information for more information about the program and to download free publications about disaster-related legal problems.
Temporary SBA disaster loan outreach centers are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the following locations:
Cullman Civic Center
510 Fifth St. SW