Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Already $1.3 Million in FEMA Aid in State

PEARL, Miss. – Less than 10 days after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding swept across Mississippi, more than $1.3 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grant assistance has been approved to help those affected by the storms.

More than 2,100 people have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.

In addition to FEMA grants for individuals and families, other forms of disaster assistance are provided by partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. FEMA often refers survivors to those agencies. All businesses are also referred to the SBA. Other callers may be interested in other programs such as disaster unemployment assistance and disaster legal services.

The following is a snapshot of the disaster recovery effort as of May 7:

• More than 200 households approved for FEMA grants for homeowners and renters, including:

• More than $978,000 approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.

• Nearly $327,000 approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.

• 428 home inspections completed.

• 891 visits to disaster recovery centers by people affected by the disaster.

• 5 disaster recovery centers currently open.

No matter the degree of loss or insurance coverage, survivors in the 12 disaster-designated Mississippi counties are urged to apply for help. Designated counties include Itawamba, Jones, Leake, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Montgomery, Rankin, Simpson, Warren, Wayne and Winston. Survivors can use any of the following methods to register:

• By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY should call 800-462-7585. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Assistance is available in most languages.

• Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.

• By tablet or smartphone, use the FEMA app or go to m.fema.gov.

Survivors who register with FEMA and are referred to SBA will be contacted with options on how to apply for a low-interest disaster loan. After being contacted by SBA, survivors should complete and submit an application even if they do not plan to accept a loan in order to continue the federal assistance process. It is part of the FEMA grant process and can pave the way for additional disaster assistance. SBA disaster loans are available with interest rates as low as 2.188 percent and terms up to 30 years.

Complete the SBA application online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Call the SBA customer service center with questions at 800-659-2955. People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY can call 800-877-8339. For more information, visit sba.gov.

For more information on Mississippi disaster recovery, click fema.gov/disaster/4175. Visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency website at msema.org or the Facebook page at facebook.com/msemaorg.