COMMUNITY RELATIONS TEAMS REACHING OUT TO DISASTER SURVIVORS<br /><br />ATLANTA - Community relations teams from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to survivors affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that began on April 15, 2011. <br /><br />Teams are out in the impacted counties, knocking on doors and attending meetings to share and gather information. Officials want individuals and small business owners to know about available disaster assistance programs, and they are trying to identify unmet needs. <br /><br />Renters and homeowners may apply for help in the form of grants for temporary housing, basic home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs. Renters, homeowners and business owners may also be eligible for low-interest disaster loans.<br /><br />Team members will also meet with representatives of community-based agencies, community leaders and public officials. When community relations specialists meet a disaster survivor with unmet needs, they pass that information on to state, federal or voluntary agency staff best able to respond.<br /><br />Disaster survivors can apply for federal assistance directly through Web-enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones at They can also call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Survivors also can register online anytime at <br /><br />Individual assistance helps eligible applicants with temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs. <br /><br />Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will be available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance. No one is obligated to accept a loan. However, the SBA loan application opens the door to other possible forms of assistance.<br /><br />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.<br /><br />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.<br /><br />FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.<br /><br />
© 2011