10/29/11 — Renters may be eligible for storm assistance

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Renters may be eligible for storm assistance

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 29, 2011 11:28 PM

Renters who lost their place to live and personal property because of Hurricane Irene's impact in North Carolina may be eligible for state and Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster grants to help them recover from the storm.

The only way to find out what help is available is to call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or go online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Smartphone and tablet users can connect at m.fema.gov.

The registration deadline has been extended to Nov. 30.

One type of grant may cover the cost of temporary housing if a renter has to move to another place. Grants also may be available to replace personal property.

Those who register with FEMA may get a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The next step in the process is to fill it out and return it to SBA. If an applicant does not qualify for a loan, other FEMA financial assistance may be available.

Renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Survivors are not required to borrow money.

Renters who need help locating a place to live can get information by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362 and pressing the helpline option. Computers can go to www.fema.gov and click on "3 Step Guide for Assistance," then scroll down and click on "Housing Portal."

Crisis counseling and free legal aid to help with disaster-related questions, such as landlord/tenant disputes, also are available under the Hurricane Irene declaration.

To insure against future losses, renters may obtain flood insurance for contents. Information is available from insurance agents or the National Flood Insurance Program by phone toll-free at 888-379-9531 or online at www.floodsmart.gov.