Residents hoping to get disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency should apply as soon as possible.
The agency provides grants to help people pay for a place to stay if they can’t stay in their home and to repair their home.
“It’s money that doesn’t need to be paid back,” said Bill Lehman, a FEMA spokesman.
The funds do not duplicate money that will be paid through insurance claims, he said.
Residents in Cumberland, Bladen, Columbus, Hoke, Robeson, Edgecombe, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, and counties can apply. Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered loss or damages due to Hurricane Matthew can register for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by downloading the FEMA mobile app, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).
Applicants with a speech disability or hearing loss who use TTY should call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 800-621-3362.
The telephone numbers are open now from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Operators who understand multiple languages are available.
Once a resident has registered, he or she will get a call from a housing inspector “within a short period of time” to set up an appointment, Lehman said.
Residents should have a copy of their insurance policy, their Social Security numbers, and information about the damage, including photos if they have them.
Once the inspector completes a report, funds are often deposited in the resident’s bank account within a week.
Lehman said there is a cap on the amount of money available, but he wouldn’t say what it is because residents might expect to get the maximum amount.
The funds can be used for rental assistance and to make repairs to the damaged home, Lehman said. Money to pay for the contents also might be available depending on the insurance policy.
“We’re still in response mode,” he said. “After they’ve registered, that’s when the recovery mode starts.”
Staff writer Steve DeVane can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3572.