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Equal Access To Disaster Aid Is Goal In Tennessee

Release date: 
June 7, 2011
Release Number: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is partnering with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to assure that people with access and functional needs have equal access to disaster recovery facilities and assistance.

FEMA works with state and local agencies as well as volunteer organizations to identify needs and locate appropriate resources. Some of the areas addressed include communication needs, removing physical barriers to facilities, and ensuring that disaster assistance reaches everyone who is eligible.

A FEMA regional disability integration specialist is at the state-FEMA disaster recovery headquarters in Tennessee, working with the state independent living council, independent living centers and disability advocates to ensure that their clients are able to access FEMA recovery resources.

At the national level, FEMA has joined with the National Council on Independent Living to assure space is made available at disaster recovery centers and with the National Disability Rights Network to improve methods and systems for delivering disaster aid to persons with disabilities.

For preparedness resources for individuals with disabilities, or to learn more about FEMA’s commitment to integrating the needs of individuals with functional needs into all aspects of emergency management, please visit

To register individuals for assistance after a disaster, FEMA maintains a text telephone number (TTY) for people who are hard of hearing, deaf or who have a speech disability at 800-462-7585. The standard FEMA helpline,800-621-FEMA (3362) also can provide multilingual assistance.

Survivors may also access FEMA disaster assistance through a smart phone or tablet at Applications are available for the tablets to assist people with disabilities. Individuals using a videophone may call the Tennessee Relay Service at 800-848-0298.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations, also has multilingual operators at its main disaster assistance number 800-659-2955. The TTY number is 800-877-8339. Online, go to and click on the disaster loan link at the left of the page.

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.

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.

FEMA's housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants for medical, dental, and funeral 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 considered for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.  Applicants who do not qualify for a SBA loan may be eligible to receive Other Needs Assistance grants for these items.

Last Updated: 
July 8, 2017 - 10:49
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