From staff reports
Representatives of the Appalachian Regional Commission visited Winston County Monday, May 12 to observe the damage and pledge their help.
Earl F. Gohl, ARC Federal Co-Chair, explained that over the last 4 years ARC had invested over $10.5 million in Winston County and that they were here to help for the longhaul.
ARC officials arrived Monday with $50,000 to cover unforeseen expenses not covered by FEMA.
That $50,000 can be a huge help to the local tax base that does not have an impact on local budgets,” said Louisville Mayor Will Hill.
Gohl noted that any funds provided by ARC were an investment in the future of Winston County.
“At first it looks like how will you never bounce back from something like this. But, in every case, the community comes back bigger and stronger than ever,” said MEMA director Robert Latham.
Winston County Economic Development director Gerald Mills noted ARC’s strong past support in economic development including a $200,000 infrastructure investment in the former GP building which was destroyed the tornado.
Both Hill and Mills said the Natron project which had been closing to starting at the former GP plant is still in the works with of course major review and discussions since the building was destroyed.
A look at the recovery:
- Nearly $3.3 million in FEMA Individual Assistance grants has been approved to help Mississippi disaster survivors recover, including:
- More than $2.5 million approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.
- More than $732,000 approved to help cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
- More than 3,300 people have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.
- In addition to FEMA grants for individuals and families, other forms of disaster assistance are provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration and other partner agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. FEMA refers some survivors to those agencies.
- All businesses that contact FEMA are also referred to the SBA.
- Others may be interested in other programs such as disaster unemployment assistance and disaster legal services.
- 1,504 home inspections completed.
- Nearly 2,300 visits to disaster recovery centers by people affected by the disaster.
- 9 disaster recovery centers are now open.
Joint Housing task force
- The federal family (FEMA, SBA, HUD) is supporting MEMA’s joint Long-Term Housing Task Force.
- We’re working with our local, state, voluntary, federal and private sector partners to identify immediate and long-term housing needs and develop solutions.
- FEMA Individual Assistance is calling applicants in designated counties after they register with FEMA to assess their housing situations and identify any immediate needs.
- The primary focus at this time is to help get survivors back into their homes or into safe, sanitary and secure temporary housing as close to their homes, jobs and schools as possible.
- We’re working to identify survivors who can move back into their homes with emergency repairs and connect with them with volunteers who can complete those repairs.
- In Winston County: A donations warehouse and volunteer reception center has been set up at the Winston County Coliseum, 201 Ivy Ave. in Louisville. Those wishing to volunteer are asked to register at the reception center.
- In Lee County: The volunteer reception center has moved to All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Jefferson Street in Tupelo. For more information, call 662- 842-9133 or visit unitedway.org.
- Survivors should file with their insurance company if they have a policy and register with FEMA by going to DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY can call 800-462-7585.
- Once they’ve registered with FEMA, survivors who need immediate assistance with housing repairs or with finding a temporary place to stay should call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit any of the nine open disaster recovery centers in Mississippi. To find the nearest center, they can call the FEMA helpline or go online to FEMA.gov/DRCLocator
Messages from FEMA
- Read any notification from FEMA carefully.
- If, when registering with FEMA, you choose to receive updates to your smartphone or other device via SMS/text, you will receive application status updates, sometimes soon after you complete the registration process.
- You will receive various messages from FEMA, such as when a determination of eligibility is made, when any type of request letter has been mailed to you, or when you need to provide additional information to FEMA.
- If you receive a text saying your case has been updated, you should always follow through by logging into your account on DisasterAssistance.gov to view the status update.
- If the decision is you are eligible for assistance, you may receive a message stating a payment is scheduled.
- If the decision is you are ineligible for assistance, this isn’t necessarily a final decision. FEMA may need further information or documentation from you to further evaluate your application. So read the information carefully.
- If you have insurance, be sure to file your claim and register with FEMA. FEMA cannot provide assistance which is available from another source, including insurance. You must submit insurance settlement documentation to FEMA because FEMA may be able to assist with losses not covered by insurance.
- If you have questions about any messages or letters you receive from FEMA, visit a disaster recovery center or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Applicants who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability can call TTY 800-462-7585. To locate the nearest disaster recovery center, go to FEMA.gov/DRCLocator or call the FEMA helpline.