VIRGINIA BEACH. Va. – Just over six weeks after President Obama signed the major disaster declaration making Virginia residents eligible for federal assistance following Hurricane Matthew, survivors are reminded they have only two weeks left to apply for federal grants or loans.
The deadline to register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as to file a physical disaster loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.
FEMA has approved grants and loans totaling more than $8.4 million to survivors of Hurricane Matthew in the seven Virginia independent cities named in the presidential declaration of Nov. 2.
The disaster funds come to the state in the form of FEMA grants to individuals and households; FEMA public assistance grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations; low-interest disaster loans from the SBA, and claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FEMA has approved more than $7 million for individual housing assistance, more than $1.4 million in other needs assistance. In addition, the SBA approved 313 low-interest disaster loans totaling nearly $10.8 million, and 2,251 NFIP has paid claims totaling more than $38 million in payouts.
A total of 5,020 homeowners, renters and businesses have applied to FEMA for individual disaster assistance grants in the seven affected cities: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement and serious disaster-related needs. Disaster grants are not taxable income and cannot affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and commonwealth programs. You do not have to repay federal disaster grants.
FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed 3,807 inspections of disaster-damaged properties to verify damage.
Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. Jan. 3, 2017, is the last day for survivors to file an application. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at DisasterAssistance.gov . The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
In support of the Commonwealth of Virginia, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) personnel are still canvassing flood-impacted neighborhoods. To date, DSA workers have made 10,272 visits to homes in storm-impacted neighborhoods. They are equipped to register survivors with FEMA and answer their questions about disaster assistance.
The Commonwealth and FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Virginia Beach remains open. An easy-to-use DRC Locator is available at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm .
Virginia Beach Disaster Recovery Center
Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon. – Sat., until further notice
Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Enter main door, turn right, near Cafe
The SBA, one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. SBA has staff on hand at the Virginia Beach DRC to assist survivors, one-on-one.
For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster. TTY users may call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The deadline to file an SBA physical disaster loan application is Tuesday, Jan. 3.
If approved for your SBA loan, you may be eligible to borrow additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples include relocation and elevation of utilities and installing retaining walls and sump pumps. Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan increase, for mitigation purposes, of up to 20 percent of their physical damages.
In addition, the SBA operates a Business Recovery Center (BRC) to enable storm-impacted businesses to meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan can help them recover.
The BRC location:
Virginia Beach Economic Development
4525 Main St, Suite 700
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other help available to individuals:
Free disaster legal assistance is available to storm survivors. This service offers counseling on insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home-repair contracts, and the replacement of lost or damaged legal documents and other legal matters. Call the toll-free hotline 800-552-7977, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or video relay service). TTY users can call 800-462-7585.
The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding and recovery. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and can cover the cost of replacing losses of disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971