Deadline to register with FEMA July 6


By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson PostAttention all those who were affected by severe storms and flooding that occurred here from April 30 to May 18, you have until Tuesday, July 6 to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for disaster assistance.You also have until July 6 to fill out and return a loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration, if you received one, to be eligible for some forms of federal assistance.That was the word this week from Susan Solomon, FEMA public information officer, who stopped by The Wilson Post with numbers on how many people have registered and how much in assistance has been approved.    Through June 18, she said, 62,768 people have registered with FEMA statewide, and $138.3 million in FEMA disaster assistance has been approved. Of that $138.3 million, $120 million is in housing and rental assistance and $18.3 million is in personal property assistance.In addition, Solomon said “$75.9 million in low interest loans from the SBA has been approved for renters, homeowners and business owners.”As of June 22, she added, 960 people in Wilson County have registered with FEMA.You do not need to wait for an insurance settlement to apply for assistance with either FEMA or SBA.Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia B. Szczech said in a news release, “Time is running out. We want everyone who had damages from the recent storms and flooding to register. You can’t get assistance unless you take that initial step.”SBA loans are the largest source of disaster funds to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property or for making substantial repairs or rebuilding damaged structures to their pre-disaster condition.You can register for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. You can also apply for assistance, ask questions or check on the status of an application by calling FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are available from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Help in all languages is available.Szczech noted that “Facebook is one more way to help Tennesseans find and share information to help guide them through the recovery process. It’s a platform where everyone in the community can share important information.”The site is www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo, and it hosts an online community where those affected by the Tennessee disaster and those active in the response and recovery can share information. The site will be available throughout the state’s long-term recovery process.FEMA is also providing links to disaster resources and information through Twitter at www.twitter.com/FEMARegion4.FEMA officials noted the role played by the private sector in disaster recovery efforts.A number of businesses, chambers of commerce and nonprofit groups offered their communications resources to educate and encourage Tennesseans affected by the disaster to register for assistance.Some of the state’s largest associations and businesses, like Cracker Barrel, based in Lebanon; Gaylord Entertainment, Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corp. and others found ways to get information to community members and thousands of their employees, families and friends.Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.