FEMA Disaster Recovery Center closing later this month

Published 3:37 pm Friday, November 30, 2018

FEMA’s deadline for registering for disaster assistance is Dec. 13 at midnight, and agency representatives are urging Decatur County residents not to miss out.

“Once that deadline passes, that person is out of luck,” said Suzy Witten, FEMA Media Relations Specialist.

Residents can visit the Disaster Recovery Center at the Decatur County Coliseum, which will be closing around Dec. 13, visit online at disasterassistance.gov or register by calling 1-800-621-3362.

So far, 38,000 people in Southwest Georgia have registered for disaster assistance with FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The Disaster Recovery Center in Bainbridge was set up shortly after the category three storm hit Bainbridge more than a month ago on Oct. 10.

FEMA will be able to assist residents during their transition periods while recovering from the hurricane, said Witten. If FEMA isn’t able to meet all the needs of an applicant, they will be referred to the SBA where they can apply for low interest loans.

“The FEMA grants are limited,” said Witten, “If a person is referred to SBA through FEMA, they will get a packet through the mail, and they have to fill it out, whether or not they ever want to get a loan. Because if they are declined a loan—let’s say they don’t have the means to repay but they have been referred—that will put them in the system for more assistance from FEMA.”

FEMA and SBA are still going door-to-door, helping those who have not been able to register to apply. Next week, FEMA rebuilding specialists will set up shop in front of the Walmart in Cairo to provide tips and advice on making homes stronger and safer, as well as answer questions about protecting homes from future damage. The advisers will be available between Monday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As of Nov. 28, more than $37.1 million has been allocated in FEMA disaster assistance and SBA disaster loans.

“We are processing more and more every day,” said Witten. “So far, almost 6,000 FEMA survivors have received more than $10.1 million in individual and housing assistance. The SBA has approved $27 million in loans. There is a lot of money going into the communities for the recovery.”

Bainbridge residents are beginning to see the community return to normal as debris along the streets is cleared by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. As of Nov. 26, more than 2 million cubic yards of debris have been removed.