Hurricane Matthew Recovery Resources



On October 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew’s rain bands and wind impacted the Commonwealth, resulting in more than 11 inches of rain in southeastern Virginia. This storm caused flooding and damage in areas of Hampton Roads that typically aren’t impacted by floodwaters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating federal disaster assistance in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

Assistance is available to homeowners, renters and businesses, whether you have insurance or not.

Federal disaster assistance is available to individuals and businesses within the following presidentially designated cities:

  • Chesapeake
  • Hampton
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Portsmouth
  • Suffolk
  • Virginia Beach

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. FEMA is committed to helping all eligible Virginia disaster survivors recover from Hurricane Matthew storm and flood damage, including U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and Qualified Aliens.

Learn more about who are considered qualified aliens

First Steps on the Road to Recovery:

  • Document all storm damage and costs. Take lots of photos and keep all your receipts.
  • File with your Homeowner’s and Flood Insurance (if you have it).
  • File with your Automobile Insurance for vehicle damage.
  • Register with FEMA to begin your federal assistance process.

Please keep in mind, recovery is a process – your input, engagement, and follow-up are critical to ensuring your process moves along. Read all communications from FEMA carefully, follow all instructions, stay in touch with FEMA and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Registering for FEMA Assistance:

The deadline to register is January 3, 2017.

Help is available in any language.

Ways to Register:

  1. Register online at
  2. Call the FEMA Registration Line (7AM-11PM Mon-Fri)
    1-800-621-3362 (711-Relay or Video Relay Services)
    1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
  1. A Disaster Recovery Center is a readily accessible facility where survivors may go for information about our programs or other disaster assistance programs, and to ask questions related to your case. Representatives from VDEM, FEMA, SBA, volunteer groups and other agencies are at the centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance.
    Search for a Disaster Recovery Center

Important Registration Reminders:

  • Registering with FEMA is the ONLY way to receive federal disaster assistance. You must register before the January 3, 2017 deadline to be eligible for assistance programs.
  • If you didn’t register with FEMA, you are not registered for disaster assistance. Even if you already contacted your local government and insurance company, you need to register with FEMA for federal assistance.
  • Don’t disqualify yourself for any reason. Never assume you won’t get help; the only way to find out what you qualify for is to apply.

What to Expect After you Apply for FEMA Aid:

  • A FEMA Inspector will call you within a week to schedule a visit.
  • The Inspector will conduct a brief visit to verify your damage.

The Inspector Will:

  • Wear an official FEMA ID Badge
  • Confirm your disaster registration number
  • Review structural and personal property damages

The inspector will not:

  • Determine eligibility
  • Ask for any money or payment information
  • Take the place of an insurance inspection

FEMA Individual Assistance Grants:

  • FEMA grants do not need to be paid back, and they do not impact any other benefits you may be receiving from the government, such as disability, welfare, retirement, veterans benefits or SNAP.
  • FEMA grants are not intended to pay for your full recovery. They are designed to help with short-term disaster related costs and emergency repairs needed for your family’s health and safety.
  • FEMA grant eligibility is always determined on a case-by-case basis. You have the right to appeal any decisions by FEMA that you do not agree with.

Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration:

  • 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.
  • You may be referred to the SBA for a disaster loan. They’re not just for businesses; they can help homeowners and renters pay for long-term disaster costs, major repairs and personal property replacement.
  • In order to qualify for additional FEMA assistance, you must complete the SBA application and be turned down. If you do not complete the application, the federal assistance process stops for you.
  • You do not have to accept the SBA loan, but if you don’t apply your federal assistance can grind to a halt. 

Decision Letters, Appeals, and Extensions:

  • Monitor your email and your mailbox – read all messages from FEMA carefully.
  • If you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter you can, and should, file an appeal. Learn more here.
  • Call FEMA or visit a DRC for help with your appeal. Sometimes you simply need to submit missing information or correct a mistake.
  • Even if you are determined to be ineligible there are resources that can help with basic needs, call 2-1-1 for more information.  
  • If you need more rental assistance from FEMA, be sure to ask.  Learn more.

Helpful Recovery Tips:

  • Spend your money wisely and document your expenses Learn more.
  • Tips on how to avoid recovery related fraud. Learn more.
  • National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more.

Additional Resources

VDEM resources:

External Links:

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund