Hundreds register for federal assistance after disaster declaration
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Six days after a tornado ripped apart Jamie Sherman's New Orleans East home, the piles of debris and emotional tolls are stacking up.
"I can't remember anything that happened before Tuesday," Sherman said. "To think that a week ago I was coming home to a nice warm and cozy bedroom and I look at it today and it's nothing. The roof is gone, no walls. It's very heartbreaking."
The heartbreaking stories reach as far as the storm's vicious path. The National Weather Service released information Monday saying the EF-3 tornado left a 10.1-mile-long path of destruction, and at times spread two football fields wide.
"There's so many people that need help, and I'm hoping they get the help they need from the federal government," Sherman said.
Hundreds flocked to the East New Orleans Regional Library Monday to take advantage of the recent federal disaster declaration by President Donald Trump's office.
"We have helped people register inside, but we would like to say if folks can register prior to coming, it will expedite the process once they get here," FEMA spokeswoman Sharon Karr said.
Karr urged people affected by the tornado to register online, through the FEMA helpline or FEMA's app.
"Typically in three to five days, they'll get an inspector to come through and then they'll be getting a determination letter shortly after that," Karr said.
Several other agencies are also at the library located at 5461 Read Boulevard to help victims.
"You can register with FEMA first, apply to the SBA (Small Business Administration) and have all of your questions answered, and when funding is available and your loans are approved, you can sign your loan documents here," SBA's Susheel Kumar said.
The SBA tells all victims to sign up for assistance even if they believe their insurance will cover the damage.
"Let's say the damage is $100,000. Let's say the insurance company only covers $60,000 of it. The remaining number is unmet needs. That's what the SBA looks to fill the gap for," Kumar said.
A veterans relief organization also assisted 150 veterans Monday at the center.
The disaster recovery center hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Victims signing up for relief are required to bring information pertaining to:
- Social Security number
- Address of the damaged home or apartment
- Description of the damage
- Information about insurance coverage
- A current contact telephone number
- An address where they can get mail
- Bank account and routing numbers if you want direct deposit of any financial assistance
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