Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 001: Verifying Home Ownership in the Disaster Assistance Process
FAQ 002: Survivors with Losses from Both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew
FAQ 003: Understanding Your FEMA Letter
FAQ 004: Direct Temporary Housing for North Carolina Disaster Survivors
FAQ 005: Direct Housing Follow-up
FAQ 006: Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
All SBA Disaster Loan Recovery Centers have now closed. The deadline to return SBA economic injury disaster loan applications is June 14, 2019.
Florence Recovery Update
Disaster Recovery Centers
All the Disaster Recovery Centers in North Carolina have closed. The closure of the Disaster Recovery Centers marks a major milestone in the disaster recovery process.The Centers close when traffic slows at the locations.
Survivors whose homes or businesses were affected by Hurricane Florence can get updates about their applications, learn about the appeals process or check the status of their claim the following ways:
- Call the Disaster Assistance Helpline at 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish);
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov to log into their account.
The NC 211 statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing and other storm-related details. Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 (TTY), or text Florence to 898211. The information line is staffed around the clock to connect North Carolinians to storm resources.
For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit NCDPS.gov/NCEM and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.
What to Expect After Registering for Disaster Assistance
After registering for disaster assistance, you may be contacted by a FEMA-contracted housing inspector to schedule an appointment for a housing inspection.
Your first contact with a housing inspector may be by text or phone call and may come from an area code different than yours. The inspection is needed to verify and assess damage indicated when you registered. The inspection generally takes about 20-40 minutes but may take longer. The inspector will want to see the damaged areas of your home, as well as damaged furniture and personal property. There is no fee for the inspection.
When a housing inspector comes to visit your home, ask to see a FEMA photo ID badge. If you are not shown photo identification, then do not allow the inspection. Disasters often bring out scam artists who prey on the needs of disaster survivors.
All FEMA-contracted housing inspectors will be able to identify you by the unique nine digit number you were assigned when you applied for assistance. FEMA inspectors will never ask for this information. They already have it in their records. If you are unsure if the inspector is with FEMA, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) to confirm.
Someone 18 years of age or older must be present during the inspection. The inspector will also ask to see:
- Photo identification;
- Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence (structural insurance, tax bill, mortgage payment book/utility bill);
- Insurance documents: home and/or auto (structural insurance/auto declaration sheet);
- List of household occupants living in the residence at time of disaster; and
- All disaster-related damage to both real and personal property
Once the inspection process is complete, your case will be reviewed by FEMA and you will receive a letter outlining the decision about your claim. Inspectors do not make eligibility determinations for assistance.
Read all communications from FEMA carefully. If you are eligible for disaster assistance, FEMA will send you a check by mail or deposit it directly into your bank account. If you receive money for rental assistance, be sure to keep documentation and receipts of payments. If you pay
to stay somewhere, you should have a written landlord/tenant agreement for the time frame you use the assistance.
If you are not eligible for federal disaster assistance, you will receive a letter from FEMA explaining why you may not be eligible for this form of disaster assistance. You will be given a chance to appeal the decision. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s decision. Many times, your letter will say you’re ineligible because FEMA needs additional information from you, like proof of an insurance settlement.
Although FEMA assistance cannot make you whole, it may help your recovery move forward by providing grants for basic repairs to make your home safe, sanitary and secure. FEMA assistance may also provide temporary help with a place for you and your family to stay while you build your recovery plan.
After registering for disaster assistance, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In times of disasters, the SBA offers low-interest loans for businesses, homeowners and renters. The SBA will contact you with information on how to apply. There’s no obligation to accept a loan, but you may miss out on the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds if you don’t submit an application.
Information about low-interest SBA disaster loans and application forms are available online at SBA.gov/disaster. You may also call 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. If you use TTY, call 800-877-8339. Applicants may apply online at SBA’s secure website, https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Direct Temporary Housing Assistance
As a result of Hurricane Florence, rental resources are not available in some communities for displaced residents. Based upon the needs identified by the State of North Carolina, FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in 10 counties: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson:
- Travel Trailers provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs to their home can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.
- Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to greater degree of damage.
State Housing Recovery Centers
There are currently 7 state housing recovery centers open to provide rental assistance, housing leads, and financial information. Below are their current locations and hours.
2825 Neuse Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28562
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. to Fri.
1241 Military Cutoff Road
Wilmington, NC 28405
(Side entrance of the Northeast Library)
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. to Fri.
Department of Social Services
120 Glen Cowan Rd.
Lumberton, NC 28360
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. to Fri.
134 Office A Industrial Park Dr.
Trenton, NC 28585
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon to Fri.
127 Center Street
Jacksonville, NC 28546
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon to Fri.
Shiloh Columbia Volunteer Fire
19170 U.S. Hwy. 421
Willard, NC 28478
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon to Fri.
Bay River Commons
210 Vandemere Rd./Hwy 304 Unit C
Bayboro, NC 28515
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon to Fri.
Mitigation Outreach & Workshops: Building Back Stronger
What is Mitigation? Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. In order for mitigation to be effective we need to take action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, and insuring against risk). It is important to know that disasters can happen at any time and any place and if we are not prepared, consequences can be fatal.
For more information on mitigation, visit: www.fema.gov/what-mitigation
For mitigation ideas and tips for rebuilding, visit: www.fema.gov/mitigation-ideas-and-tips-rebuilding
Get In-person Help with Rebuilding
Disaster survivors can get tips and advice on how to rebuild stronger against future storm damage from FEMA flood mitigation specialists at select hardware and home improvement stores for a limited time. The specialists can answer questions about home repair, making disaster plans, putting together supply kits and the importance of flood insurance.
Residents can also learn more about how to make their homes more resistant to flood damage at community mitigation resiliency workshops.
Extended Grace Period for Eligible Flood Insurance Policyholders
People who have flood insurance through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program normally have 30 days from their policy expiration date to pay to renew their policy and ensure continuous coverage. However, in the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Florence, FEMA’s NFIP has extended the renewal grace period from 30 days to 90 days for policyholders impacted by the flooding.
NFIP policyholders who meet all of the conditions below have up to 90 days from their policy expiration date to pay to renew their flood insurance policy:
- The flood-insured property is in a county designated under the Presidential Disaster Declarations for Individual Assistance in North Carolina; AND
- The NFIP policy has an expiration date between Aug. 10, 2018, and Oct. 10, 2018; AND
- The policyholder has not renewed their flood insurance policy.
If a policy expires on or after October 10, 2018, the standard 30-day renewal grace period will go into effect. The NFIP cannot cover any flood claims for losses that occurred after the policy expiration date.
For more information about renewing flood insurance policies, policyholders can contact their insurance carriers or call the NFIP Call Center at 1-800-427-4661.
How to Help After a Disaster
When disaster strikes, every little bit helps. To make the most of your contributions, please follow our guidelines to learn the most effective and safest ways to donate cash, goods, or time following a disaster.
- If you want to get involved in response and recovery efforts, you should first connect with an established team. A list of reputable volunteer agencies is available on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website at nvoad.org. Or, visit VolunteerNC at nc.gov/volunteer.
- North Carolina officials ask that volunteers not self-deploy because unexpected arrival in affected communities creates an additional burden for first responders and may fill lodging needed by survivors.
- To ensure your financial contribution is used responsibly, only donate to reputable organizations. Visit the NC Disaster Relief Fund at governor.nc.gov/donate- florence-recovery and click “Donate to Hurricane Recovery,” or text “FLORENCE” to 20222.
- Never forget – cash is best! A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make.
Cleaning Up After a Disaster
Below are a few simple guidelines to follow that will make the clean-up and salvage process safer and easier:
- Always wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes.
- Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines and other exterior damage.
- Take photos of your damage before you begin clean up and save repair receipts.
- Your home may be contaminated with mold, which raises the health risk for those with asthma, allergies and breathing conditions.
- Open doors and windows so your house can air out before spending any length of time inside.
- Turn off main electrical power and water systems and don’t use gas appliances until a professional can ensure they are safe.
- Check all ceilings and floors for signs of sagging or other potentially dangerous structural damage.
- Throw out all foods, beverages and medicines exposed to flood waters or mud including canned goods and containers with food or liquid.
- Also, throw out any items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.).
- Beware of snakes, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
Trusted Information Sources
- A rumor control page has been set up to dispel false information about Hurricane Florence.
- Call 2-1-1 or text “FLORENCE” to 898211 for questions about Hurricane Florence.
- Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) to receive emergency alerts and find a shelter. Free and available on Apple and Android devices.
- Beware of post-storm donation scams. Research before you donate and only donate to reputable organizations.
- In North Carolina, visit the NC Disaster Relief Fund and click “Donate to Hurricane Recovery,” or text "FLORENCE" to 20222.