FEMA announces individual assistance for 8 Georgia counties - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

FEMA announces individual assistance for 8 Georgia counties

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

In Georgia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now assisting eight local counties.

They are Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, McIntosh, Screven and Wayne. Residents in all counties but Screven are eligible for individual assistance.

The aforementioned counties will receive assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures and public assistance. Individuals in the counties offering individual assistance can register, which will afford them the opportunity to rebuild their homes and businesses. 

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach called the announcement a "make or break" for many in his city. He says the assistance is necessary for rebuilding, and that each family with damage could qualify for a little over $30,000 in help. It's huge news for people all across the Coastal Empire. 

"It's a make or break for some of them. Some of them don't have any insurance or don't have coverage on a lot of things. It'll help save their homes, help save their businesses. So it's for a big for us as a community," said Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Savannah. 

CEMA's director says this impacts almost every resident in some way. They do ask that you be patient, as this whole process is new. FEMA representatives will be at the disaster camp at Home Depot on Abercorn on Wednesday. They're also getting out in the community to see what homeowners need. If you don't have insurance, this is a great opportunity to reach out and see how they can help you. 

"Those people that need disaster assistance, they have the option to go to these FEMA teams and find out what programs are available for them; what programs they qualify for, and this could essentially have a significant impact on the general resident or the general family that has suffered traumatically from this hurricane," said Dennis Jones, CEMA Director.

The announcement is especially huge for those living on Tybee Island. Tybee's mayor was the first to say it could have been worse out there. That's not to say it wasn't still bad. Homes on Lewis Avenue are one example. Work crews are a common sight on Tybee Island - after homes have been torn apart by flooding - a sight no homeowner wants to see.

"It's very, very hard to watch this because my house was all ready to sell, and we've done so much work to it, and now it's a mess. It's hard," said Julia Foster.

The rebuilding starts now as crews rip out her walls and throw away her furniture.

"I'm wearing sunglasses because I've done nothing but cry for the last so many days," said Foster.

Repairs could cost upwards of $70,000 in many homes. The entire street is affected in some way.

"Everybody needs help. Everyone. It's not just me. It's not just Lewis Avenue; everyone...we need help," said Foster.

A walk down Lewis Avenue showed the destruction. Piles of belongings, walls, and floors litter front yards. Many homeowners have no mortgage and therefore no insurance. Help from FEMA is necessary to their rebuilding.

"It will change lives and it will change communities," said Frannie Galloway.

Frannie Galloway and many others just weren't planning for something this serious.

"My neighbor, 46 years here, and never had one drop of water, and then they got a foot," said Galloway.

The rebuilding process though is something they're committed to.

"We will rebuild because we're strong. We're Tybee strong. People on this island are very strong. It's just a huge big family," said Foster.

They're a big family with a big mess, but also a lot of big help coming their way.

The FEMA teams will be in town for the rest of the week, looking at what other kinds of assistance we'll qualify for on the public level. They'll be looking at government properties, roads, bridges, dams, culverts, and parks and much more. That announcement could be made as early as next week. 

You can apply for FEMA aid by visiting their website here, calling them at 1.800.621.3362, or by downloading their mobile app.

You will enter your name, address and description of the damage. You will need your social security number and bank routing number and you will also be asked about your household income and what kind of insurance you have. 

Even if you have insurance, officials say it’s a good idea to still register with FEMA.

"Even if they don't think they are eligible or even if they have contacted their insurance company they should go ahead and register anyway once that is announced and start the process with FEMA because your insurance company, something may go wrong there. You may not have flood insurance which is usually a separate policy, so there are all kinds of things unforeseen that can go wrong, so it still makes sense to go ahead and register with FEMA even though you may not get anything from them if your insurance covers it,” said Savannah Emergency Management Director David Donnelly.

Once you register, a case will be opened and a FEMA inspector will call you and then have to come to your house for an inspection.  You do need to be present for that and you will need to show an I.D. and proof of residence and ownership.

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