WESTFIELD, Mass. -- The window is quickly closing for residents of Berkshire and Franklin counties to register for disaster help. An online visit or a single phone call can qualify an individual head of household or business owner for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
State Coordinating Officer Kurt Schwartz, Director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, urges residents to encourage their neighbors to apply now for disaster assistance for damages or losses caused by Tropical Storm Irene between August 27 and 29. The deadline is 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 2, 2011.
“We ask that folks in the storm-damaged areas remind their neighbors with property damage or those whose business took a hit to sign up with FEMA,” said Schwartz. “Even minimal losses may qualify for funding and other services—let’s all take this message to someone we know and get the word out.”
Individuals and business owners can register for help online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or using a smart phone at m.fema.gov 24 hours a day. A toll-free helpline is also available to register applicants. Call 1-800-621-3362. Individuals with a hearing or speech disability can dial (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Both lines operate between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.
Federal recovery aid to residents includes:
- grants for emergency disaster housing and essential repairs;
- grants for necessities not covered by insurance or other sources;
- low-interest loans from the SBA.
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.