A storm victim says a pending FEMA assistance situation is better than a hard refusal, but it can still be aggravating.
What you need to know
- Brevard County residents became eligible for FEMA assistance on October 11
- FEMA will soon open a disaster recovery center on the space coast
- Currently residents can apply for FEMA assistance over the phone, online, or using the FEMA mobile app
Mims resident Emily Johnson considers it lucky FEMA She will now be reviewing her family’s condition after they experienced widespread flooding during Hurricane Ian about two weeks ago.
She was one of many residents in the North Brevard County community of Mims that experienced heavy flooding. Brevard County was not eligible to receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency until earlier this week.
Her initial request was met with the following response from the federal agency on October 6:
“Unspecified County (NUC) – Your home is not in the declared disaster area. FEMA will begin processing your application if your area is added to the declared disaster area.”
Johnson told Spectrum News Thursday that her order is now on “pending.” She said she tried contacting FEMA for an update on her condition, but was met with wait times of about 144 minutes.
When Spectrum News 13 visited her home on Harrison Road on Monday, most of the water had receded, but evidence of just how high the water remained was clear across the yard.
Three of their cars had water damage and one of them, a black Volvo, that Johnson bought a little over a year ago, still has some water on the driver’s side near the pedals.
“This is actually a huge setback because I’m still making payments for it,” she said. “So if my car insurance doesn’t completely run out, I’ll basically have paper weight.”
The floodwaters also swept into a shipping container now used as a working shed for Johnson’s husband. She said they lost three generators due to flood damage. Outside of that, the mower and motorcycle also succumbed to the effect of water.
“So we were expecting an inch or two of water because we’ve been getting rain almost every day for three weeks, but we’ve had about two to three feet of water, which was quite a shock,” Johnson said.
Fortunately, the water wasn’t high enough to get into their house, but they said other neighbors weren’t so lucky. She noted that the presence of abundant amounts of water under their house also had an impact.
She pointed to a part of the foundation that she said had begun to erode due to the saturation of water in it.
“This is our main concern: the foundation of our house because if we don’t get someone here to check on, who is going to say in five years my house won’t collapse because that’s been ignored,” Johnson said. .
More help coming soon
While those affected by Hurricane Ian can already apply for FEMA assistance either over the phone or online, they will soon be able to do so in person.
The agency confirmed that it is in the process of opening a disaster recovery center on the space coast. The exact timing of when it will open is still being decided, along with the hours it will run.
During the establishment of the new center, those who need can submit a claim to register with FEMA using the following methods:
· Connected – www.DisasterAssistance.gov
By phone – 800-621-3362 (FEMA)
Using the FEMA mobile app
Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Brevard County Office of Emergency Management said that those with insurance need to file a claim with their insurance provider before submitting a claim to FEMA. Those who do not have insurance, or if it does not cover a resident claim, can still apply for FEMA assistance.
Applicants for assistance should readily have the following:
Contact information (phone number, postal address, social security number)
· Family income
The address of the damaged house or apartment
Description of damaged/missing items
Pictures of the damaged house and its belongings
Information about insurance coverage
Bank accounts and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds