MONTGOMERY, Ala. – FEMA disaster assistance provides grants to help eligible homeowners and renters with temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement, and essential disaster-related needs. But not all hurricane survivors who applied for assistance are eligible; others are eligible for some aid, but may still have unmet needs.
Where can these survivors turn for help? Who can they call? Where can they go?
In Alabama, 2-1-1 Connects Alabama is a shortcut to health and human services agencies that can provide help to individuals and families recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sally.
By simply dialing “211,” those in need of assistance can be referred, and sometimes connected, to appropriate agencies and community organizations. 2-1-1 Connects Alabama works a bit like 911. Calls to 211 are routed to a calling center. From there referral specialists use databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies to match the callers’ needs to available resources and link, or refer, them directly to an agency or organization that can help.
Below are just some of the services 211 Connects Alabama can help callers access:
- Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance
- Government information: City, County, State services and programs. Many people are not sure what government office to contact, 211 helps point them in the right direction
- Health and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, maternal health, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation
- Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities: adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services
- Support for Children, Youth and Families: childcare, after-school programs, Head Start, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services
- Volunteer Opportunities and Donations: community involvement, volunteer centers, disaster relief
- Military and Family Support: programs that serve veterans and their families, community resources, mental health resources, counseling 2-1-1 Connects Alabama also provides incident specific information in coordination with local emergency services during times of disaster, including road closures and shelters. You can reach out to 2-1-1 Connects Alabama by dialing 211 on any telephone, or call or text 888-421-1266.
For more information about 2-1-1 Connects Alabama, or to chat with a 2-1-1 specialist, visit https://www.211connectsalabama.org Help Available from Other Government Agencies Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) If you’ve lost your job, the Alabama Works site at https://labor.alabama.gov/online-services.aspx will take you through the simple, easy step-by-step process of filing for unemployment and finding a new job. Internal Revenue Service Special tax law provisions may help individual taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of Hurricane Sally, especially those located in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties. Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Both individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return. You may deduct the loss or partial loss of your home, household goods, and motor vehicles from disaster damage on your individual federal income tax return. For more information, visit the www.irs.gov website. Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network™ offers free support for eligible homeowners from HUD-approved housing advisors, including:
- Personalized recovery assessment and action plan
- Assistance filing claims (i.e. FEMA, insurance and SBA)
- Help working with mortgage providers on Payment relief options
- Access to Clearpoint’s Project Porchlight disaster recovery tools and resources
- Ongoing check-ins to help ensure a successful recovery
To learn more visit www.fanniemae.com/disaster-help-homeowners or call 877-833-1746.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline that offers year-round disaster crisis counseling. If you feel distressed because of the storms, you can use this free service. It’s toll-free, multilingual, crisis support, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpline staff provides counseling and support and can help you learn how to cope with common stress reactions. They can also provide information and referrals to local resources for follow-up care.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the disaster, you are not alone, you can call the Disaster Distress helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.To learn more, visit www.SAMHSA.gov
More Resources Available to Alabama Survivors Who Need Help
- If you or someone you know is needing assistance due to Hurricane Sally, 211 may refer you to an organization that is part of the Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ALVOAD). Alabama VOAD seeks to ensure the availability of needed resources and services and encourages the uniform, impartial delivery of these resources and services to disaster survivors in Alabama. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can get access to more disaster help and resources, as well as a personalized list of available assistance. (No login or personal information required.) Visit www.benefits.gov/benefit-finder/Household
For the latest information on Hurricane Sally, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4563.