BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Community relations teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to Vermonters across the state who were affected by Tropical Storm Irene.
Community relations representatives will be in the eight designated counties for individual assistance -- Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor -- knocking on doors and attending meetings to exchange information with the public. Additional representatives will be on the ground in the coming days.
"Our people are looking to make sure renters, homeowners and business owners know about the disaster assistance programs that FEMA and the Small Business Administration have available, as well as to identify any unmet needs," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Craig Gilbert.
FEMA's individual assistance program may include aid for affected families and individuals to cover uninsured expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental or transportation costs. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses to repair or replace damaged property.
Community relations specialists will also be meeting with representatives of community and faith-based agencies, community leaders, and public officials who can direct them to people who require assistance.
"When our people come in contact with Vermonters affected by Tropical Storm Irene who need help, they will pass that information on to the state, federal or voluntary agency best equipped to respond," Gilbert said.
Community relations teams also will be reminding Vermonters that they CANNOT register for FEMA assistance by calling 211. FEMA's registration number is: 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice, and multilingual assistance is available.
Online registration is available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or at FEMA's mobile website, m.fema.gov for Smartphone or tablet users. FEMA also has an app for android phones, which can be downloaded at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android.
Online registration helps to reduce the number of forms you have to fill out, shortens the time it takes to apply for aid and allows you to check the progress of your application online.
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; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Applications can also be downloaded from