PEARL, Miss. – The arrival of a housing inspector is a vital step in determining both the amount and types of housing assistance FEMA may provide.
Survivors take the first step in their recovery by registering for disaster assistance with FEMA. After applicants register, a FEMA housing inspector may contact them to schedule an inspection of their damaged property.
The inspector usually comes within seven days after the survivor applies.
Applicants are given a personal application number when they register that is used throughout the disaster assistance process. Survivors should record the number and keep it secure and handy for all future dealings with FEMA. The inspector will have the application number when they visit.
When the FEMA inspector calls, be sure to write down the inspector’s name, phone number, date of any calls and date and time of all appointments. It is important to meet with the inspector to avoid delays in the inspection process. Those who cannot be present for the scheduled appointment can appoint someone 18 or older who lived in the house at the time of the disaster to stand in during the inspection.
The inspection generally takes 30-40 minutes but can be shorter, and consists of a general inspection of damaged areas of the home and a review of the survivor’s records.
When the inspector arrives, be prepared to provide proof of identification, such as a driver’s license, passport or other official photo ID. Homeowners must show proof of ownership; renters must show proof of occupancy. The inspector will complete the inspection without seeing the proof, but it must be provided to FEMA.
Every contractor has an official identification badge. Ask to see the badge if it is not visible before the inspection. Inspectors are contractors, not FEMA employees, who have been hired by FEMA to conduct the inspection.
Beware of scams and scam artists. Disasters often bring out criminals who prey on the needs of disaster survivors.
Remember, FEMA never charges a fee for an inspection. The inspector will never ask for bank information. FEMA inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors or recommend repairs.
Inspectors do not determine cost estimates, but provide confirmation of existing damage from which costs estimates are calculated.
Most applicants receive a written response from FEMA regarding a decision within seven to 10 days after the inspection.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and private insurance companies also have inspectors in the field in Mississippi.
To date, FEMA housing inspectors have completed more than 828 inspections requested by Mississippi disaster survivors.
Anyone in Forrest, Lamar, Marion or Wayne counties who had damage from the recent storms and tornadoes may be eligible for disaster assistance. Registering with FEMA is simple and can be completed several ways:
Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov any time day or night.
- By phone or video relay at 800-621-FEMA (3362) daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Help is available in many languages.
- By TTY at 800-462-7585.
- C-Spire Wireless customers can register by calling #362.
- By web-enabled mobile devices at m.fema.gov. Select “Disaster Survivor” then “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance.”
Those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362.
Disaster assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
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.
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 temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial 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 eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.