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Deadline for in person application is today
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FEMA Disaster Recovery Specialists and folks from the U.S. Small Business Administration are at Mt. Zion Church until 7 p.m. today. Disaster recovery centers also are equipped to meet the needs of those with disabilities and special needs. - photo by Patty Leon

Today is the deadline to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency individual assistance in person. FEMA Disaster Recovery Specialists are at the Disaster Recovery Center at Mt. Zion Church, 1370 Shaw Road, Hinesville, until 7 p.m.

The DRC was open throughout the weekend helping people apply in person.  

It’s unclear whether a recovery disaster center will open in Midway on Wednesday. FEMA officials said they would issue a press release as soon as they’re certain of when and where they’ll be open. 

According to David Melancon, FEMA Media relation Specialist, 16,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance in 10 locally declared disaster areas.

He said that as of 10 a.m. Monday, 71 clients had applied in person at the disaster recovery center at Mt. Zion Church.

Melancon said applying in person allows residents to meet with specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Disaster recovery centers also are equipped to meet the needs of those with disabilities and special needs.

“If they feel more comfortable talking to someone one-on-one then they should come in and meet with our specialists in person,” he said noting that those who prefer may apply online, by phone or through their smart phone of the FEMA mobile application.

Melancon said after people apply they will receive a case number. Afterwards, clients will receive a call from FEMA representatives, within 14 days or less, to set up an appointment to review the damage and see whether they qualify for FEMA funds, grants or disaster loans. FEMA assistance is handled on a case by case basis. The FEMA assessor will file their report and that will help determine what type and how much financial assistance FEMA will provide.

To avoid being scammed, Melancon said residents should know that FEMA assessors will have proper government ID. He noted FEMA assessors do not ask for personal information such as social security numbers. He said to be wary of people trying to ask for personal information or making promises of reimbursements or financial said . When in doubt, Melancon said you should call local law enforcement to investigate.

“FEMA assistance is to help people get back on their feet,” Melancon said. “It’s there to help with gaps that their insurance may not have covered or special problems they may need help with. Or we may be able to put them in touch with the organizations, charities, faith-based organizations or the SBA to place them with the right people who can help them.”

If you plan to file for assistance online visit: or by mobile device at

If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Dec. 12.

Other forms of financial assistance are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program.
According to the latest press release issued by the SBA, businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Matthew when it hit Liberty County on Oct. 7.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace real estate damaged or destroyed in the storm. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property. 
Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. 
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 16. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 12, 2016.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit

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