ATLANTA – Renters displaced from their homes or apartments by Hurricane Michael may be eligible for federal disaster assistance, including grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
FEMA grants may include funds to cover renting a new residence because the previous home is uninhabitable due to the hurricane. Renters may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants that help with uninsured or underinsured expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster, including:
- Child care
- Moving and storage expenses
- Repair or replacement of personal property lost or damaged in the storm, including furniture and appliances, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by independent contractors.
- Primary vehicles, approved second vehicles, and modified vehicles damaged by the disaster
- Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses
- Disaster-related dental and medical expenses, such as wheelchairs, canes and prescriptions
FEMA grants are not loans and don’t have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and won’t affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or other public assistance programs.
SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to help renters repair or replace disaster-damaged personal property, including automobiles. Survivors may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000, depending on their losses.
For more information on SBA low-interest disaster loans:
- Go online to SBA.gov/disaster.
- Call 800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 (TTY).
- Email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
- Apply online at SBA’s secure website, disasterloan.sba.gov.
- Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find DRC locations and current hours, go to fema.gov/DRC.
There are several ways to apply for disaster assistance:
- Use the FEMA mobile app in English or Spanish.
- Call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362, or 800-462-7585 (TTY), anytime from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.
- Visit one of the 15 Disaster Recovery Centers. The centers serve as one-stop shops for survivors who need one-on-one help. Survivors can visit any center for assistance. To find center locations and current hours, download the FEMA mobile app or visit FEMA.gov/DRC.
If needed, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available at DRCs and at any public meetings associated with the disaster in which FEMA may participate. If you want to make sure an interpreter will be available, call the Helpline at 800-621-3362.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 13, 2018.
The following 20 counties have been designated as eligible for Individual Assistance: Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Laurens, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, and Worth.
FEMA wants to make sure that every disaster survivor has equal access to disaster information and assistance. Renters who are deaf or hard of hearing may view a video on available assistance. Watch it at youtube.com/watch?v=yAHSPK_K7tg.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters