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FEMA Grant Not Enough? More Forms of Help are Available

Release date: 
December 8, 2011
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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Virginians who apply for disaster grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should understand there is a limit to what FEMA funds can do. Disaster grants can help make a home's essential living space safe, sanitary and secure and help pay for disaster-related losses of essential personal property, but it may not be enough to cover all disaster expenses.

The total amount that individuals receive for home repairs, rental assistance and other disaster-related losses will vary based on each individual case. The maximum amount of FEMA grant assistance available to Virginia earthquake survivors is $31,400.

"Registering with FEMA is the first step. Clearly, even the maximum amount FEMA can grant is not enough to replace or repair an extensively damaged Virginia home," Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen said.

Another option available to FEMA applicants is a low-interest disaster loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA offers loans up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters can apply for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size can apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

In addition, Virginia's voluntary organizations also can help earthquake survivors meet serious disaster-related needs not addressed by other disaster assistance programs.

"Registering with FEMA allows earthquake survivors to qualify for other forms of state and federal disaster aid, including assistance provided by volunteer groups," said Michael Cline, state coordinating officer for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Groups known as Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) step in to meet these needs and members of these organizations typically continue to assist survivors long after the emergency phase has passed. Voluntary organizations can provide a broad range of assistance, such as shelter, food, clothing, and counseling as well as home repairs and reconstruction not covered by FEMA.

Register for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 or visiting You can also apply with a web-enabled mobile device at  Operators are available to assist callers seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., or visit the Disaster Recovery Center, at the Triangle Plaza, 502 E. Main St., Suite 6000 (former Video 2000 store), in Louisa.

Applicants who have been denied FEMA assistance or are unhappy with the amount of assistance they've received, can file an appeal by calling the FEMA registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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