Those looking for help applying for financial assistance to recover from the October storms still have a chance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Mobile Disaster Recovery Center is open at the Geronimo Community Center, 280 Navarro Drive, and is staffed with members of the Disaster Survivor Assistance Team, as well as members from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The center is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
As of Sunday, FEMA had approved more than 2,700 applications, awarding about $15.6 million in funding to disaster survivors in Texas, FEMA spokesperson Susan Solomon said.
The teams from both FEMA and SBA are available to help residents fill out the applications and ensure that they have all of the proper paperwork, Solomon said.
Residents who are interested in applying need to make sure they bring proper identification, proof of residency — utility bill, mortgage booklet or rental agreement — and the social security numbers of all members of the home, Solomon said.
“We ask for that information so we don’t get duplicated applications from the same household,” she said. “Only one member of the household can apply.”
Applicants need to also bring any insurance information, whether it is homeowners, renters or auto, Solomon said.
“Regardless of if you have insurance or not, you should apply,” she said. “We don’t duplicate what insurance covers, but we can still help.”
The funds are intended to help residents pick up the pieces, Solomon said.
Residents who need additional assistance can also apply for a loan through the SBA, Yolana Stokes, SBA public information officer, said.
“They are loans to homeowners, renters and businesses,” she said. “You can apply for up to $200,000 for home repairs and $40,000 for necessities.”
These loans are to help repair or replace damaged or destroyed property and can have a very low interest rate, Stokes said.
“We have an interest rate of 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters, and 4 percent for businesses,” she said.
Both organizations have a seven to 10-day waiting period before applicants hear back about their applications.
Both also have inspectors who come out to the property to help assess the damages.
“The first thing that happens after you apply, is that in three days, somebody will call and ask to make an appointment to inspect your property,” Solomon said. “Before you have your appointment, you need to have a list of all of the damage that you are aware of or of the things that are essential to daily life that were destroyed. List everything and the inspector will decide if it is covered.”
“We also have our own inspectors that come out, so you could have two inspectors — the FEMA inspector and the SBA inspector,” Stokes said.
Solomon also encouraged residents who get a response of ineligibility to call and find out why.
“You may get a letter that says you are not eligible, but often that is because you have not provided all of the necessary documents or information or you did not keep the home inspection appointment,” she said. “If you have any questions just call 800-621-FEMA (3362) and ask if there is anything else you need to provide.”
The deadline to apply for assistance is January 25.