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FEMA 101

FEMA 101:
What to expect when dealing with FEMA and the SBA

Prepared by the MARK Project

First of all, anyone who sustained damages whether you are an owner occupied house, renter, part time resident, or business, you should register with FEMA and go through the process.

Step 1.

File and application with FEMA. This can be done on line at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ and click “apply for assistance immediately”

If you do not have a computer you can come to the MARK Project on state Hwy 28 and we will walk you through the process.

The application process takes about 15 minutes.

Step 2.

A FEMA inspector will contact you for an appointment to see your home OR they may deem you ineligible for assistance and refer you to the Small Business Administration for their low interest loan program.

NOTE: If you are deemed ineligible for FEMA you are still eligible for an SBA loan whether you are an individual, business, or not for profits but you can not apply for an SBA loan without having gone to FEMA first. Businesses and Not for profits are usually not eligible for FEMA assistance.

Step 3.

When the FEMA inspector arrives he will need to see every part of your house (not just that damaged by the disaster). The Inspector will recreate your house on the computer i.e 3 and location of bedrooms, baths, the kitchen. Part of this is to determine whether or not the space was a living space. For example does the kitchen have a stove, refrigerator, sink. Is there a phone? Things that are clear indications that someone was actually living there.

You will not be permitted to show the Inspector photographs of the site, even if you have cleaned up debris and disposed of damaged goods. But the inspector has to listen to your assessment and take you at word. When you are completed with the inspection, you will sign a certification that what you said was truthful.

Step 4.

At the end of the inspection the inspector will measure the exterior perimeter of the house (to determine square footage). You will sign the computer screen and that will be the last contact you have with the inspector.

You will also receive an SBA loan package, likely before the inspector even visits your home or business. It is beneficial to get the SBA wheels in motion regardless of the FEMA determination.

You do not have to accept an SBA loan, but your project, business, or not for profit remains in the data base if there is any federal assistance that becomes available for  businesses and not for profits.

Click here for a downloadable pdf of this information.

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