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Homeowners and renters in Brevard County who were affected by Hurricane Nicole are now eligible to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency individual disaster assistance.
FEMA this week also opened a “disaster recovery center” in Cocoa to help residents apply for that aid. The center is at the University of Florida/Brevard County Extension Center, 3695 Lake Drive. It is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily, but will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The FEMA individual aid became available after President Biden approved Florida’s request for a Hurricane Nicole major disaster declaration for Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
Residents can also apply for assistance online at disasterassistance.gov; use the FEMA mobile app; or call 800-621-3362. The hotline is open from 7 am to 11 pm daily, and help is available in most languages. People who use a relay service, such as video relay, captioned telephone or other service, can provide FEMA the number for that service to receive assistance.
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Nicole made landfall in Indian River County as a Category 1 hurricane on Nov. 10, then passed through Brevard County as a high-end tropical storm.
A preliminary damage assessment conducted jointly by Brevard County, the state and FEMA found that Hurricane Nicole resulted in nine businesses and residences destroyed, six with major damage, 34 with minor damage and one otherwise affected.
Additionally, the county estimates that county government facilities and operations sustained $35.5 million worth of damages, much of it related to the county’s beaches. That figure does not include damages incurred by the county’s 16 municipalities.
FEMA said residents who have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, should file a claim as soon as possible. If you have insurance, you must file a claim with the insurance company first.
If you do not have insurance or insurance does not cover the claim, you can start applying for FEMA assistance.
Although FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance, if the policy does not cover all disaster expenses, the insured may be eligible for federal assistance.
Disaster assistance may include financial help with temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.
FEMA offers these recommendations:
- Document damage, and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage.
- Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleaning and repair.
Disaster recovery centers like the one that opened in Cocoa provide people with information from Florida state agencies, FEMA and the US Small Business Administration, including related to disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans.
Residents can get help in applying for federal assistance and disaster loans; can update applications; and can learn about other available resources.
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When creating an application for FEMA assistance, applicants must provide:
- Your current phone number where you can be contacted.
- Your current address and your address at the time of the hurricane.
- Your Social Security number.
- Household income.
- A general description of damage and losses caused by the hurricane.
- Photos of the damaged residence and belongings.
- Banking information, if you are eligible for disaster assistance and you’d like to receive funds directly deposited into your bank account.
- If insured, the types of insurance you have, and when available, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.
Families affected by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole may need to apply for disaster assistance twice if they experienced damage from both storms. Damage caused by multiple disasters is treated separately based on which storm caused it, even if the same property is damaged.
Separately, FEMA said Hurricane Nicole assistance for restoration of damaged engineered beaches is being made available to Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Martin, Nassau, Palm Beach, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia counties.
Also, public assistance will be available for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities for these counties.
FEMA’s disaster recovery center at Cuyler Park Community Center, 2331 Harry T. Moore Ave., Mims, closed on Dec. 16. It had been open since Oct. 21 to help people affected by Hurricane Ian.
People affected by Hurricane Ian can still register for assistance, get updates about applications, learn about the appeals process or check the status of their application the following ways:
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Through the FEMA mobile app.
- Via the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
- At one of FEMA’s other disaster recovery center locations, including the Cocoa center.
Registration for Hurricane Ian assistance will be open through Jan. 12. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY can call FEMA at 800-462-7585.
Visiting with a recovery specialist at a disaster recovery center is not a requirement for individuals who want disaster assistance, but the centers can help people to get answers to their questions about disaster aid and registration assistance.
- Status of FEMA application.
- Disaster recovery guidance.
- Clarification of any written correspondence received.
- Housing assistance and rental resources information.
- Answers to questions, resolutions to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance.
County officials say Brevard residents also are eligible to participate in two new state programs aimed at providing assistance to those who were displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Ian:
- Temporary housing and sheltering program (recreational vehicles or travel trailers).
- Temporary or permanent repair program conducted by verified volunteer groups. The state provides the money for those volunteer groups to purchase building materials.
For more information and to apply for those programs, go to https://ianrecovery.fl.gov/unite or call 1-800-892-0948.
Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @bydaveberman and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dave.berman.54.