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Oct. 14 – Still no word on FEMA ‘Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

October 14, 2016 - When disasters take place, the Individuals and Households Program (IHP)

provides money and services to people in the disaster area when losses are not covered

by insurance and property has been damaged or destroyed. But, that’s only if the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assessment Teams determine that an area qualifies.

Those teams are still in Chatham County, reviewing the damage here.

According to Chatham County Public Information Officer Catherine Neal, no decision has been made by FEMA so far, and she does not expect an announcement until early next week, perhaps even as late as Wednesday.  

This “Individual Assistance”(IA) includes specific eligibility conditions to qualify for help. The IHP is designed to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways, and will not cover all of a resident’s losses from damage to their property

IHP is not intended to restore a damaged property to its condition before the disaster. In some cases, IHP may only provide enough money, up to the program limits, for a resident to return an item to service.

IHP does not cover business‐related losses that resulted from the disaster.  Assistance for businesses come from the Small Business Assistance Corp., and other programs. 

By law, IHP cannot provide money to residents for losses that are covered by their insurance.   

While some money is available through IHP, most disaster aid from the Federal government is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that must be repaid.  

Applicants to IHP may be required to seek help from SBA first, before

being considered for certain types of IHP help, but they do not have to submit an SBA loan

application to be considered for FEMA rental assistance.

Types of Assistance

The following list shows the types of assistance that are available through IHP and what each provides.

Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.

Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance.  The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.

Replacement:   Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance.  The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.

Permanent/Semi Permanent Housing Construction:  Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home.  This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.

Other Needs:  Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.  This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property,transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.

  Apply online by visiting www.fema.gov or by phone by calling 1‐800‐621‐FEMA (3362) (hearing/speech impaired ONLY—call 1‐800‐462‐7585). In addition to having a pen and paper, please have the following information ready:

• Your Social Security Number.

• A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster.

• Insurance information.

HOW TO APPLY

The FEMA Disaster Helpline is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) Hearing/Speech Impaired ONLY: Call 1-800-462-7585.  Provide:

• Directions to your damaged property.

• A telephone number where you can be contacted.

When you apply over the phone, the information you provide is put into the computer

and an application is generated. When your application is complete, you will be provided a FEMA application number.  

If you have questions AFTER you have applied for assistance or if the information you provided has changed, call the FEMA Helpline at 1‐800‐621‐FEMA (3362)

(hearing/speech impaired ONLY—call 1‐800‐462‐7585).  When you call, have your application number ready.  This number will be given to you when you apply and will be on all mail sent to you from IHP

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