The Belton Journal

Bell County residents in need of federal aid from the aftermath of the tornado and storms that struck Bell County on May 22, can now seek assistance at the disaster recovery center at Tarver Elementary School in Temple.

FEMA’s presence in Temple remains uncertain, however the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is July 16.

During the opening of the center, FEMA media relations specialist, Nikki Glaskins Campbell reaffirmed that the cash grants help eligible homeowners, and renters with disaster recovery assistance for those impacted by the recent floods, and tornadic activities.

Campbell said they continue to work with state, local, and emergency officials in the county and other counties to get guidance on where to go to assist people with needs.

“We are going to be here for quite a while. We will be on the ground reaching as many people as possible for however long it takes,” Campbell said.

Additionally, she said if FEMA can’t fill in all the gaps, they will refer survivors to other partners such as the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA), non-profit groups, businesses, and individual contributions. FEMA disaster grants are supplemental funds and not intended to make people whole after an emergency.

In the latest FEMA information released by La-Tanga Hopes, Media Specialist, FEMA has already provided more than $98 million in cash grants to survivors in all counties included in the federal disaster declaration.

Eligible homeowners and renters can use cash grants for housing assistance (repair/rebuild), medical/dental expenses, moving and storage expenses, and tools and generators to name a few.  The agency encourages homeowners and renters to apply for disaster assistance.

“What we are finding is that many homeowners believe they have full storm coverage, yet after filing a claim, they learn that there are loopholes in their insurance policies. FEMA’s message to disaster survivors that find themselves in this situation is that FEMA may be able to help,” Hopes said.

On the other hand, there are those through no fault of their own, who have no emergency resources to rely upon. These individuals or families can possibly benefit from what is called a Serious Needs Assistance cash grant.

This money can be used to simply get dinner for the next few days while you figure out your next move, or get baby supplies, medicine or personal hygiene items that may now be compromised. Serious needs assistance grants can also help with temporary housing. The serious needs assistance grant is an addition to any other grant survivors may receive from FEMA. FEMA grants do not have to be repaid.

The Disaster Recovery Center is located at Tarver Elementary School at Stonehollow Dr., Temple.

Days of operation are Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to apply for assistance. Anyone needing financial assistance through FEMA can go to any disaster recovery center in any of the approved counties.