FEMA speaks

This morning I actually got a supervisor on the phone. Here's what he had to say that might be useful to others who haven't been lucky enough to get any answers:

1. You do not need to apply to SBA if all you want is rental assistance. The SBA info is used if you are asking for money to cover property losses.  If you plan to claim any losses, you HAVE to apply with SBA first, and if you get turned down,then FEMA steps in.

2. If you want rental assistance, you need to fax in the Declaration and Release on the last page of the guide book "Help After a Disaster". Include a copy of a lease or other proof of occupancy.

I've been on the phone with these people for weeks and never was told either of these things. I was told, alternately, that they were waiting for an inspection, that they had waived the inspection, that I needed to apply to SBA, that I needed to drive 180 miles away, that it was automatic, that it was automated, that they needed no other information from me, blah blah blah...

On the other hand, I also noticed that the form they used for my case expired on February 28, 2003. Has it really been that long since Katrina hit? It certainly feels like it.


I'm glad that you're finally getting some answers from them!

Last year, after the hurricanes ravaged our area, we had similar experiences with FEMA. Fortunately our damage was much less significant than the losses of Katrina victims. We simply gave up and pushed on. At the time, I had a three week old baby and was out of work. It's something I hope to never repeat again.

You know, I can't help but think that we, the victims of last year's storms, are the reason that you guys aren't getting the help you need. We completely drained the system. Not on purpose, of course, but because last year was such a novelty of a storm season, too. They, perhaps, over-reacted to our situation?

Either way, I wish you the best of luck in getting things put back together.

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