Renters impacted by Florence eligible for FEMA assistance

By on October 25, 2018

(Brian North/WCTI photo)

North Carolina renters who had uninsured or underinsured losses due to Hurricane Florence may be eligible for disaster recovery assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The aid is available to residents in counties declared disaster areas, including Hyde.

Rental grants may be used for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities—such as gas or water. The grants may not be used to pay for separate cable or internet bills.

The 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.

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Renters may be eligible for grants from FEMA to help with disaster-related expenses, such as:

  • Renting a home when the renter’s previous one is unsafe to live in due to the disaster or the apartment complex is under repair.
  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
  • Increased cost of child-care expenses.
  • Moving and storage fees.
  • Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, such as appliances and furniture, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by independent contractors.
  • Repair or replacement of vehicles damaged by the disaster.
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
  • Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.

There are several ways to apply for disaster assistance:

  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or DisasterAssistance.gov/es for Spanish.
  • 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 11 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.
  • Visit a disaster recovery center.

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, the ReadyNC app, or visit FEMA.gov/DRC.

All recovery centers are accessible to people with disabilities. Centers have assistive technology to aid in communication. To schedule an American Sign Language interpreter, call or text 202-655-8824.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 13.

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Renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged apartment complex — whether their unit had damage or not — may be eligible for disaster assistance.

Renters who had already registered for federal assistance and were later evicted due to damage to other parts of their complex should take the eviction notice to a recovery center.

Renters may qualify for an SBA low-interest disaster loan of up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

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For information:

  • Go online to SBA.gov/disaster.
  • Call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
  • Email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
  • Apply online at SBA’s secure website, disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Visit a recovery center. To find center locations and current hours, go to fema.gov/DRC.

The following 31 counties have been designated as eligible for individual assistance: Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Orange, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson.

For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393.

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