Hurricane Season 2020: Live Updates

Nov 19, 2020

FDOT Update: Pensacola Bay Bridge 

FEMA: Hurricane Sally Recovery Update
The deadline to register for FEMA disaster assistance is Dec. 1, 2020.


FEMA reminds residents who have received federal disaster assistance for Hurricane Sally to use the money for its intended purpose and to keep receipts for three years. Disaster assistance is intended to help residents meet basic disaster-related needs. A letter explaining what the payment is to be used for arrives after the check or direct deposit payment.


FEMA can’t duplicate insurance payments for Floridians with losses from Hurricane Sally, but it might be able to help with some expenses that aren’t covered fully by insurance. It’s a good idea to register with FEMA even if you have insurance.


How to register for FEMA assistance
Homeowners and renters in Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties who had uninsured losses from Hurricane Sally can register with FEMA in several ways:

  • By visiting DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Downloading the FEMA App for smartphones
  • Calling 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific phone number assigned to that service.

After you register
After you apply for federal disaster assistance, it is important that FEMA be able to contact you. Be aware that phone calls from FEMA may appear to come from unidentified numbers and make sure that FEMA has your current contact information. FEMA may call to obtain more information for your application or to conduct a remote home inspection in order to be able to continue processing your application.
Applicants for FEMA assistance will receive a letter from FEMA by mail or email. It is important to read it carefully because it will include the amount of any assistance FEMA may provide to you and information on the appropriate use of disaster assistance funds. You may need to submit additional information for FEMA to continue to process your application. If you have questions about the letter, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).


After you apply for disaster assistance from FEMA, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It is important to submit a disaster loan application as soon as possible. If your application is approved, you are not obligated to accept an SBA loan. But failure to return the application will disqualify you from other possible FEMA assistance, such as disaster-related car repairs, clothing, household items and other expenses.


By the numbers (11/18/2020)

  • 6,326 individuals and households approved for $26.1 million in FEMA assistance, including:
  • $20.5 million approved for housing assistance
  • $5.6 million approved for other disaster-related needs
  • 11,711 home inspections completed
  • $53.6 million in SBA loans approved
  • 4,432 claims filed with the National Flood Insurance Program; $88.2 million paid


U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):
Applicants may apply online using SBA’s secure website at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Or they may email FOCE-Help@SBA.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
SBA is operating a Business Recovery Center at East Pensacola Heights Clubhouse, 3208 E. Gonzalez St., Pensacola, FL 32503. Business owners can meet with SBA representatives and get help with low-interest disaster loans. Hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.


For additional information about SBA disaster loans, the loan application process, or for help completing the SBA application, visit SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800-877-8339.

Resources
Florida 211: The call goes to local helpline call centers that have counselors for disaster recovery and can provide information on access to local resources such as housing, food and health care. Dial: 211
Florida Division of Consumer Services provides information for residents with insurance questions: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/HurricaneSally.htm
Florida Department of Businesses and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers tips for hurricane recovery at  http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/documents/HurricaneGuide_web.pdf
DBPR tips for avoiding unlicensed contractors following a storm: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/unlicensed-activity/dbpr-hurricane-guide/
Disaster Legal Services provides free legal help to low-income Hurricane Sally survivors with disaster-related legal needs. Call 866-550-2929.

Disaster Survivors: Be Aware of Fraud And Identity Theft 

FEMA reminds survivors:

  •   FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) never charge for registration, home inspections, grants, disaster-loan applications or anything else.
  •   If you have registered and want to verify any correspondence from FEMA, call at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
  •   If you suspect fraud, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, the Florida Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 866-966-7226 or report it your local police department.
  •   FEMA also recommends you monitor your credit report for any accounts or changes you do not recognize. If you discover someone is using your information, you will need to take additional steps, including filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through its website: IdentityTheft.gov.

For more information about Hurricane Sally recovery in Florida, visit the FEMA disaster webpage at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4564 or the Florida Division of Emergency Management webpage at https://www.floridadisaster.org/info/

Disaster loans to help Florida renters

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to help Florida renters repair or replace disaster-damaged personal property, including automobiles. Renters may be eligible for up to $40,000, depending on their losses. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2020. 

Applicants may apply online using SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov. Or they may email FOCE-Help@SBA.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For additional information about SBA disaster loans, the loan application process, or for help completing the SBA application, visit SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800-877-8339

For more information about Hurricane Sally recovery in Florida, visit the FEMA disaster webpage at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4564

Residents with damage should first register with FEMA at disasterassistance.gov (short-term grants) and then apply to SBA for a disaster loan at disasterloan.sba.gov

It’s important to know that low-interest federal disaster loans are for HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS, plus businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, small aquaculture businesses, and small agricultural cooperatives impacted by Hurricane Sally. All can apply for their uncompensated losses – i.e. their insurance wasn’t enough to complete their repairs or they didn’t have insurance.

People do not have to wait for their insurance settlement to apply for a loan. They can get money from SBA to start their repairs and then assign their insurance settlement to pay down their loan.

It’s free to apply and the interest rates are very low. Please see the attached information for details.

SBA disaster loans cover things insurance often does not, such as debris removal, decks, fencing, sheds, etc.

Terms are up to 30 years to make the payments affordable, and no collateral is required for loans of $25,000 or less.

There is no pre-payment penalty.