The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a disaster recovery relief center at G.T. Bray Park on Wednesday. It will remain open through Saturday to aid anyone affected by Hurricane Hermine, which soaked Manatee County in early September.
Disaster assistance registration comes to a close Nov. 28. According to Jack Heesch, with FEMA external affairs, more than 80 Manatee County residents and business owners have filed for disaster assistance. Only about 20 of those applications were filed after the Manatee County disaster relief declaration in early November.
FEMA has paid out more than $5 million in emergency disaster relief assistance in all of the counties affected by the storm.
“People need to understand that FEMA isn’t an insurance company,” Heesch said. “FEMA can help with a lot of things related to storm damage, but it doesn’t cover costs paid out by insurance companies.”
The National Flood Insurance program has paid out more than $40 million in claims associated with Hermine.
“Insurance will cover the majority of costs, but FEMA only pays out enough to keep you living in your home or keep your business operational,” Heesch said.
Here is where you get the opportunity to sit down with someone and meet eye to eye to resolve these issues.
Jack Heesch, FEMA external affairs
Rental assistance, repairs or paying the balance of those under-insured or not insured are typical claims. Heesch said there are multiple reasons why people should come to the mobile relief center.
“A lot of people will get a determination letter on an existing claim and they may not agree with it,” he said. “This is the best place to come to figure out why and it might be a simple mistake as a wrong phone number. Or they may not agree with the FEMA inspector, in which case they should bring photos, receipts and contractor estimates. Here is where you get the opportunity to sit down with someone and meet eye to eye to resolve these issues.”
The relief center is near the tennis courts and will be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Saturday. The center will be staffed with FEMA representatives, as well as personnel from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help apply for federal disaster relief, determine types of assistance available or to update existing applications.
If unable to attend, people are encouraged to call the FEMA helpline 800-621-3362 before Nov. 28 For those with hearing disabilities, call 800-462-7585. Toll free lines are open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week or visit DisasterAssistance.gov. SBA disaster assistance customer service center is 800-659-2955 or the hearing disabled number is 800-877-8339. SBA inquiries also can be made via email to email@example.com or visit sba.gov/disaster.