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Disaster Relief: Programs Offering Help for Hurricane Victims

Published October 18, 2011

In the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Jeanne, many residents are struggling to pick up the pieces and get their lives back to normal. As residents survey the damage done to their homes, cars and personal belongings, the prospect of repairing and rebuilding their lives can be overwhelming.

As of this week, The Tampa Bay Business Journal states that financial analysts are estimating a total of $21 to $28 billion dollars in insured damage.* Local, state and government agencies are being overwhelmed in the task to cleaning up after these hurricanes. However, there are emergency and long-term disaster relief programs being enacted to meet the demands of residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Jeanne.

Emergency Disaster Relief Programs

Emergency disaster relief programs are designed to provide temporary assistance to residents in a disaster area. These disaster programs are only intended to meet basic human needs such as shelter and food. Some organizations will also provide additional health and mental health services to residents. While there are many local, state, government and private non-profit organizations taking the initiative, here are some of the major emergency disaster relief programs available:

American Red Cross Disaster Services

American Red Cross Disaster Services focuses on meeting the immediate needs of residents who have been affected by disasters. Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to address basic human needs. Residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and/or Hurricane Jeanne should contact their local American Red Cross for more information on hurricane disaster services. To find your local Red Cross, visit their website: www.redcross.org.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides money and disaster relief services to people in a federally declared disaster area for losses not covered by insurance and property is damaged or destroyed. Residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and/or Hurricane Jeanne should contact FEMA through their toll free phone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (Hearing/speech impaired use this alternate toll free phone number 1-800-462-7585.) Visit their website: http://www.fema.org for more information on emergency disaster relief programs.

Salvation Army Disaster Response and Recovery Programs

Salvation Army offers a variety of disaster response and recovery programs including spiritual ministry, family counseling and financial assistance. Additionally, Salvation Army may donate shelter, food and basic human necessities. Residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and/or Hurricane Jeanne should contact their local Salvation Army for more information on disaster recovery programs. To find your local Salvation Army, visit their website: http://www.uss.salvationarmy.org.

Long-Term Disaster Relief Programs

Long-term disaster relief programs are designed to help residents repair and rebuild their lives. These disaster relief programs provide money to help residents repair or replace personal belongings, cars and homes. Depending on the disaster relief program, residents may or may not have to pay those moneys back. Here are some of the organizations to contact for long-term disaster relief

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) also assists residents with repairing their homes to make them safe, sanitary and functional. Please be advised that the money provided may not be enough to restore the home to the condition it was before the hurricanes. In some cases, FEMA may even assist a displaced resident with replacing their home. Residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and/or Hurricane Jeanne should contact FEMA through their toll free phone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (Hearing/speech impaired use this alternate toll free phone number 1-800-462-7585.) Visit their website:http://www.fema.org for more information on long-term disaster relief programs.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

SBA Home and Personal Property Disaster Loans are there to assist residents who are not eligible for FEMA IHP but still need assistance with repairing or replacing their home. This disaster relief program may loan up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings and $200,000 to repair your home. Renters can also apply for a Personal Property Disaster Loan; however because they don’t own their own home, they are only eligible for the $40,000. Residents affected by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and/or Hurricane Jeanne that are interested in applying for SBA Home and Personal Property Disaster Loan, visit their website:http://www.sba.gov/disaster_recov/loaninfo/property.html for more information.

Take a moment to check your local community to find out what other local, state and government assistance there is available. There may be emergency and long-term disaster relief programs available to help you with hurricane recovery.

*Jeanne Damage Estimated at up to $8B. Tampa Bay Business Journal. 09-27-04.http://tampabay.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2004/09/27/daily9.html

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