FEMA Recovery News 9/18/12
RENTERS MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE
BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana renters who lost their homes or personal property as a result of Hurricane Isaac may be eligible for disaster-related assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies.
Of more than 178,000 Louisianians who registered for state and FEMA assistance as of Sept. 17, a great majority report that they are homeowners. Yet renters who resided in an apartment, mobile home or leased house that was made unlivable because of severe disaster damage are also encouraged to contact FEMA.
“Hurricane Isaac didn’t discriminate between homeowners and renters,” said Mike Hall, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer. “FEMA is here to help Louisianians who sustained damage get the money in their pockets they are eligible to receive.”
Through Housing Assistance, FEMA offers two kinds of help to eligible renters:
Money to rent a different place to live for a limited period of time while repairs are done to a home that was made unlivable by the disaster
A free referral service to find a safe replacement rental property
Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA), designed to help survivors with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. ONA grants can be used for:
Disaster-related medical and dental expenses
Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses
Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, household items such as room furnishings or appliances, and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs
Primary vehicles and approved second vehicles damaged by the disaster
Filling out a disaster loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a necessary step for homeowners and renters to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other type of disaster aid.
To qualify for any of this assistance, renters must first register with FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585.For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Those with questions about the SBA loan application should call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339. Survivors can also apply online using the electronic loan applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
BATON ROUGE, La. – Workers who have lost their jobs or those who are self-employed and unable to provide their services because of Hurricane Isaac may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). But the deadlines to file a claim are fast approaching.
“The DUA program extends coverage to farm workers and others who have lost employment as a direct result of the disaster,” said Mike Hall, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “It is specifically designed to assist those who are otherwise ineligible for state unemployment benefits.”
This program is available to those living or working in any of the 21 parishes designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. These parishes are: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington and West Feliciana.
Workers have 30 days from the date their parish is designated for Individual Assistance to file a claim. The deadlines are as follows:
Oct. 2, 2012 – Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John and St. Tammany.
Oct. 5, 2012 – St. Charles and Tangipahoa.
Oct. 8, 2012 – Assumption, Iberville, St. Helena, St. James, St. Mary, Terrebonne and Washington.
Oct. 15, 2012 – East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana and West Feliciana.
To file a DUA claim, visit http://www.laworks.net/UnemploymentInsurance/UI_Claimants.asp. Those without Internet access or who have difficulty filing a claim online can contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission toll-free at 1-866-783-5567.
SENIOR CITIZENS WON’T LOSE BENEFITS IF THEY RECEIVE DISASTER AID
BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana senior citizens who sustained losses from Hurricane Isaac needn’t worry that applying for federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs.
“We hope seniors are not afraid to apply for assistance, and we want to help them,” said Mike Hall, federal coordinating officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “Receiving disaster funds will not cause anyone to miss out on other programs.”
A grant from FEMA does not add to a senior’s taxable income as long as the grant is to help recover from a disaster like Hurricane Isaac.
Applying for assistance also does not affect a person’s eligibility for Medicaid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, supplemental nutrition assistance or other federal programs. Recipients do not have to repay FEMA grants.
“Seniors do have to register with FEMA to be considered for eligibility,” Hall said. “Even if they have registered with their parish or a local organization, they still need to register with FEMA.”
Seniors and other survivors who live in one of the 21 parishes designated for Individual Assistance can register online with FEMA at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants also may call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
The 21 parishes are Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington and West Feliciana parishes.
Survivors also may visit a Disaster Recovery Center to speak directly with a FEMA specialist who can answer questions. For a list of center locations, click on www.fema.gov/disaster/4080.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also has low-interest disaster loans available to qualified survivors. Eligible seniors who receive the SBA disaster loan application should fill it out even if they are not interested in getting a loan or think that they may not qualify. Completing the application ensures that they may be considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
DISASTER SURVIVORS: DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM OF PHONE SCAMS
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state officials are urging Louisianians to watch out for unscrupulous solicitors asking for disaster- related financial information over the phone. Hurricane Isaac survivors are reporting to FEMA and local police incidents of just how crafty telemarketing scammers are becoming.
Misleading scammers are trying to manipulate disaster survivors into providing bank account routing numbers, social security numbers and other personal information. Beware of representatives claiming to be associated with FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Association who try to coax you for additional information by telling you they already have your email address.
If you suspect someone is perpetrating fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721. Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement agencies and to the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-351-4889 or online at www.ag.state.la.us
DISCARDING YOUR SBA LOAN PACKET COULD BE LIKE THROWING AWAY MONEY
BATON, ROUGE, La. — State and federal disaster recovery officials have a key message for homeowners, renters and business owners in the 18 Louisiana parishes approved for individual assistance as a result of Hurricane Isaac: Complete your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application — Discarding it could be like throwing away money!
After survivors register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), they may receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA. The number one mistake people make is assuming these loans are only for businesses or simply choosing to ignore the application because they do not want to take out a loan.
Applicants should know:
Filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step for homeowners and renters to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance.
If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other type of disaster aid. Applicants may be approved for assistance to repair or replace destroyed personal items, such as clothing and vehicles.
Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000, with interest rates as low as 1.688 percent, are available to homeowners to repair/replace primary residences if not fully compensated by insurance or some other source.
Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property.
Businesses may borrow up to $2 million at interest rates as low as 4.0 percent for any combination of property damage or economic injury.
The term of a low-interest disaster loan can be up to 30 years.
“Completing and returning the SBA application is an important step,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall. “People who discard the application could miss out on FEMA grants that could be available to them.”
Storm survivors who have questions about the application should call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955. Individuals who are deaf or are hard of hearing can call TTY 1-800-877-8339. Survivors can also apply online using the electronic loan applications. That website is https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
SBA specialists also are working at the Disaster Recovery Centers that are operating throughout the affected areas. They can answer questions regarding the disaster loan process, help residents fill out loan applications and accept the completed forms.
Louisiana homeowners, renters, and business owners can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Disaster recovery specialists are available by phone daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.gohsep.la.gov. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion6 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA. Also visit our blog at www.fema.gov/blog.
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). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
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.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
Slidell debris pickup continues
Additional trucks added to assist efforts
As the City of Slidell continues to work with service providers toward the post-Isaac debris collection, Mayor Freddy Drennan is asking citizens to adhere to the collection guidelines so that debris pickup can be expedited as efficiently as possible.
“Trust me when I tell you that we want all of this debris collected just as much as our citizens do,” said Mayor Drennan. “In order to make that happen, citizens must follow the guidelines we have been given by FEMA and the companies that have been contracted to remove the debris. I’m asking everyone to please review the information and comply so we can put the remnants of Isaac behind us and work to move forward.”
Mayor Drennan advised that as of this morning, collection companies have added more trucks to the fleets serving the Slidell area, which should help speed up the process. “In some areas, they’re picking up as fast as residents are putting waste to the curb,” said Mayor Drennan. “In others, such as the Palm Lake and Camellia Drive area, the excessive amount of debris is limiting the runs to a single truck—due to the accumulation of waste waiting to be picked up, companies are unable to maneuver more than one truck at a time through the streets. There is not enough room for them to pass each other up during runs.”
The mayor advised that all common household waste should continue to be placed into the garbage cans provided by Coastal Waste, and will be collected on normally scheduled days.
All storm related debris must be properly sorted. For citizens who hire cleanup crews to assist in those efforts, those crews are also required to comply with these guidelines.
SORT DEBRIS: Because of the way storm waste is collected and processed, different types of debris are picked up in separate runs by collectors. All debris should be placed curbside and sorted into three different piles: vegetative debris (tree limbs); construction debris (sheetrock and carpeting); and white goods/household hazardous waste (appliances.) Debris may be collected only from rights-of-way, which are public property. The rights-of-way are generally the space between the utility poles or utility services and the roadway.
City officials ask that residents not place debris near fire hydrants and utility poles and not to pile waste in the street, as this will impede collection efforts.
“We recognize that in many circumstances there is not enough room on the right of way to place all debris,” said Mayor Drennan. “We are meeting with FEMA, GOHSEP and others in order to address such situations and will post further information as we get it.”
NO BLACK BAGS: Due to FEMA requirements governing debris pickup eligibility, contractors are unable to pick up debris that has been placed into black plastic bags. If it is placed in a black bag, contents cannot be readily seen and certified, and will not be collected.
COLLECTION ON STATE HIGHWAYS: In accordance with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development regulations, the City of Slidell is prohibited from collecting any debris along state highways, which in Slidell include Front Street (Hwy. 190 and 11), Pontchartrain Drive (Hwy.11,) Gause Blvd. and Fremaux Ave. (Hwy 190), Old Spanish Trail (Hwy. 433) and Robert Blvd. (Hwy. 1091.) Inquiries regarding pickup in these areas should be directed to the DOTD.
TREE REMOVAL: Citizens are responsible for cutting and removing all damaged trees located on private property. If a contractor is hired for the removal of these trees, the contract should include the cost of tree debris removal in that contract. No trees cut on private property will be removed by the city, even if placed on city rights-of-way. All tree removal contractors must be licensed by the state and the city to insure proper insurance and protection to our citizens, and proper permits must be obtained before removal. The city will enforce all licensing, permit and disposal requirements. Permits may be obtained in the city’s Permits Department located at 250 Bouscaren St., Suite 202.
Mayor Drennan advised that this information pertains only to households and businesses located within the city limits.
“If you receive a water bill from the City of Slidell, you’re within the incorporated area of the city. Citizens in unincorporated areas should comply with information provided by St. Tammany Parish Government,” said Mayor Drennan.
For more information about the city’s continued storm recovery efforts, please visit the city’s website at www.slidell.la.us. For the latest city news updates and information about upcoming events, follow the “City of Slidell” on Facebook and Twitter.
DCFS Releases Federal Monthly Income Guidelines for DSNAP
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today released federal guidelines in use for the state's Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) following Hurricane Isaac.
The formula adds together monthly household income, as well as liquid resources like checking and savings accounts. It then subtracts unreimbursed disaster-related expenses to arrive at an adjusted gross monthly income. The upper limit of adjusted gross monthly income differs based on family size.
Household Size Disaster Gross Monthly Income Limit
On average, a family of four can have an adjusted gross monthly income of no more than $2,477 to be eligible for DSNAP.
Unreimbursed disaster-related expenses might include things like evacuation costs, such as a hotel stay, purchase of a generator, cost of rebuilding a fence or repairs to a home. Federal guidelines state that the expense must be paid within the benefit period, which for Hurricane Isaac is August 26 through September 24.
You'll find more information about the program here: http://www.dcfs.la.gov/
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) opening Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DNSAP) location in Slidell.
On Saturday, DCFS will open an additional location in St. Tammany Parish. It will be open Saturday, September 8 through Wednesday, September 12 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* St. Tammany Parish - John Slidell Park, 105 Robert Blvd., Slidell
For the above location, applicants should go on the following designated days based on their last name:
* Saturday, September 8 - M through R
* Sunday, September 9 - S through Z
* Monday, September 10 - All applicants unable to make prior scheduled day
* Tuesday, September 11 - All applicants unable to make prior scheduled day
* Wednesday, September 12 - All applicants unable to make prior scheduled day
To minimize wait times, applicants and anyone who pre-applied for benefits should go to a DSNAP location only on the day indicated by the first letter of their last name. Applicants who are unable to visit a site on their designated day can go on the final two days each site is open.
9/6/12, 4 p.m. Post-Isaac debris pickup, repair and tree permits
DEBRIS PICKUP: The City of Slidell will begin post-Isaac debris pickup tomorrow, Friday, September 7. To make the debris collection as efficient and timely as possible, citizens should form three piles of debris curbside: vegetative debris (tree branches), construction debris (carpet, drywall) and white goods and household hazardous waste (home appliances). Citizens should not place debris in garbage bags, as this makes it more difficult to differentiate the types of debris.
The City of Slidell can only pick up debris on public property. All debris piles must be placed in rights-of-way area (generally the space between the street and the sidewalk, utility poles or utility services). Items placed anywhere else in the yard will not be collected as contractors will not enter private property to pick up debris. Debris should not be piled near fire hydrants, utility poles or telephone/cable equipment and should not be placed in the street. All items located in the rights-of-way will be considered debris and will be removed. Citizens should relocate any items (garden decorations, children’s toys, etc.) in this area that they do not want removed.
Contractors will start on the north side of Slidell and work their way down in order to give citizens on the south side of the city more time to clean and remove debris. It is expected to take several days to collect all waste.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is responsible for the pickup of debris along state highways. This includes any home or business located on Gause Blvd., Robert Blvd., Fremaux Ave., Front St., Pontchartrain Dr. and Old Spanish Trail. The state will begin vegetative debris pickup on Saturday, Sept. 8, and will collect construction debris on subsequent passes.
GARBAGE PICKUP AND RECYCLING: IESI (Progressive Waste Solutions) has resumed their regularly schedule trash collection days. They will only pick up trash bags that are placed in garbage cans. Recycle pickup has been temporarily suspended but should resume again in several weeks. Citizens should continue to place recyclable materials in their recycle bins.
STORM REPAIR PERMITS: Any repairs made to a home or business as a result of Hurricane Isaac requires a permit through the city’s Permits Department, located at 250 Bouscaren St., Suite 202 in the Slidell Technology and Cultural Arts Center in Olde Towne. This includes removing and replacing carpets, flooring, drywall, cabinets and any other repairs. The cost of the permit depends on the valuation of repairs required. Citizens should verify that their contractor is licensed by the State of Louisiana. For more information, please call the Permits Department at (985) 646-4323.
TREE PERMITS: Citizens planning to cut down trees from their property need to obtain a tree permit through the Permits Department. Tree permits cost $10 per acre. Trees can only be cut down by a State of Louisiana licensed arborist. Out-of-state contractors can apply for a temporary State Arborist License at www.ldaf.state.la.us. For more information, please call the Permits Department at (985) 646-4323.
For the latest city news updates and information about upcoming events, please visit the city’s website at www.slidell.la.us and follow the official “City of Slidell” page on Facebook.
9/4/12, 7 p.m. Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program update