RIDGELAND, Miss. – (RealEstateRama) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already put more than $5 million in federal disaster relief funds in the hands of Mississippians recovering from flooding and severe weather. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and FEMA want to remind those receiving grant payments to spend those funds wisely. Survivors should use Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants on housing repairs and other essential needs.
Housing Assistance grants are intended for basic housing repairs, including repairs to a septic system or private well. Housing Assistance grants also may be used for short-term rental payments or reimbursement of hotel/motel expenses.
Other Needs Assistance grants are intended to help replace essential personal property and meet disaster-related medical, dental and funeral expenses. The money also may be used to repair or replace a car damaged by the disaster and to replace work-related tools.
Most FEMA disaster grants are deposited electronically at the applicant’s request to their bank account. A follow-up letter explains how the money should be spent.
If grant money is not used as outlined in the letter, a recipient may have to repay FEMA and could lose eligibility for further help. FEMA grants should not be used for luxury goods, such as flat-screen televisions, video games or other entertainment electronics. Grants may be audited, so survivors should keep receipts for three years to document disaster-related expenses.
The first step toward obtaining recovery assistance is to register with FEMA.
Survivors can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585.) The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
Business owners, homeowners and renters can apply for low-interest disaster loans atdisasterloan.sba.gov/ela. SBA representatives are available at the disaster recovery centers to
answer questions and help survivors complete their disaster loan applications. Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA disaster customer service center at 800-659-2955 or (TTY) 800-877-8339 for the deaf or hard of hearing, or by visiting disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
For more information on Mississippi’s flood recovery, go to fema.gov/disaster/4268 or visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency site at msema.org.
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-FEMA (3362). If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money to help business of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters rebuild and recover after a disaster. SBA low interest disaster loans repair and replace property losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.