BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Homeowners who had basement flooding from Tropical Storm Irene are encouraged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, because FEMA grants may cover uninsured damage. For damage FEMA cannot cover, a low-interest disaster loan may provide needed funds to pay for repair.
After an individual registers with FEMA an inspector visits and records damage, including the basement and items that may be located there, such as a water heater, furnace, electrical panel box, washing machine and dryer. FEMA may be able to provide a grant for repairs or replacement if these items were damaged by flooding. Disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration may help homeowners or renters with other repair or replacement costs.
FEMA makes grants to cover basic needs. In situations where families do not use their basements as an essential living space, FEMA’s ability to help with repairs to the basement itself may be limited. However, if there is a bedroom in the basement that is regularly occupied by a household member, and there is no substitute room available upstairs, the basement most likely would be deemed essential living space—and therefore eligible for a grant to help with repairs. Again, a loan from SBA may be available to cover costs that FEMA cannot.
State and federal disaster officials encourage everyone with losses from Irene to register with FEMA: by phone 800-621-FEMA (3362); online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via a smartphone at m.fema.gov. Multilingual registration assistance is available. Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY can call 800-462-7585 directly; or 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service.
For damage not covered by insurance or a FEMA grant, SBA offers disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair the borrower’s home. Homeowners and renters can also use SBA loans to replace up to $40,000 of personal property.
Completing the SBA loan application is a crucial step in the recovery process. Those who do not qualify for a loan may be eligible for additional FEMA grant assistance.
For more information contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and 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.