More than a dozen disaster survivor assistance (DSA) specialists will be going door-to-door in the eight Mississippi counties designated for federal individual assistance in the wake of severe flooding brought-on by storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that devastated the region Feb. 22 – March 29.
Working in teams, the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) personnel will be canvassing neighborhoods in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties. Using the latest mobile technology, the DSA specialists can register survivors for federal disaster assistance, update their records and make referrals to FEMA’s community service partners. They can quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs.
DSA personnel also attend community events and seek out survivors at public gathering places like libraries and community centers.
The information and assistance they provide are tailored to the individual survivor’s needs. This assistance may include help to make temporary repairs to a disaster-damaged house, pay for another short-term place to live while permanent repairs are made and/or help with serious, disaster-related needs not covered by other programs.
DSA teams may offer residents the opportunity to use a tablet computer to register or ask to enter information on their behalf. They will never require survivors to provide personal information. DSA team members can easily be identified by their federal photo identifications and FEMA clothing. Mississippi residents are reminded to ask for official photo identification before sharing personal information.
FEMA employees do not solicit or accept money from disaster survivors. FEMA staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help with registration.
Survivors need not contact a DSA team member to register with FEMA. Residents who sustained damage or losses caused by the Mississippi storms and flooding can register with FEMA in the following ways:
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
- By calling FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585), seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multi-lingual operators are available.
- Use a smartphone to register through http://m.FEMA.gov; click “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance,” and you will be directed to DisasterAssistance.gov.
By registering with FEMA, survivors may qualify for federal grants to pay for essential home repair or replacement or to rent a temporary home. In addition, help may be available to pay for other disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental, transportation and funeral expenses, moving and storage fees, personal property loss and child care, not covered by insurance.
Registering with FEMA is also the first step in qualifying for help from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Low-interest disaster loans from SBA are available to businesses of all sizes (including landlords), homeowners, renters and private nonprofit organizations to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance. Low-interest disaster loans help fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.
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