Post-hurricane recovery tips
From Gene McCoy, UF/IFAS Extension Hendry County director
1. File with FEMA and get your FEMA number ASAP! You will need it for everything. Download the FEMA app now. They now prefer that you register online rather than the phone.
2. File a claim with BOTH your homeowner’s and flood insurance. Even though it’s a flood, homeowners will cover some wind damage and most of them will give you money for “loss of use” if you can’t live in your house.
3. File for DSNAP-Disaster food stamps. ANYONE in the affected areas can get them, they are not just for poor people. Do not be proud, you can use the money you save on food to replace clothes and other necessities.
4. File for Disaster Unemployment. Again, DO NOT BE PROUD! If you can’t live in your house or go to work because your work is closed or flooded, this applies to you.
5. Get rental assistance. FEMA and SBA provide rental assistance to help pay for a place to live until you can get back into your house or find a new one.
6. If you want to buy a house, apply for an SBA loan. The interest rates will be VERY CHEAP. Although it is called the SBA, it is for homeowner too.
7. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross will sometimes give away money as well. Just call them and apply.
8. Check local businesses for specials and discounts for people in the affected flood areas. Businesses will offer everything from half price pizza to furniture and clothing specials.
9. Call all of your bill collectors and notify them that you are in the affected area and/or that your house flooded. Most will delay your bill due dates for a month or two. This includes your mortgage company, cable, electricity, water, credit card companies, phone etc.
10. Most importantly, allow people to help you! They want to and you need the help!