LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - FEMA will permanently close its Disaster Recovery Center in Lee County Saturday, marking a major step in the recovery process.
For the last two weeks, the Disaster Recovery Center has been a one-stop-shop for those affected by the March 3rd tornadoes to connect with FEMA, AL EMA, Lee Co EMA, and the SBA all under one roof. All of those agencies have had representatives here to meet with storm victims face to face and help them through the process of applying for the benefits these agencies offer.
As this center closes, the U.S. Small Business Administration is opening what it calls a “Disaster Loan Outreach Center” at Southern Union Community College in Opelika. It will be staffed with people ready to help storm victims through that application process. The SBA offers low interest loans to help make repairs or rebuild after the storm. That outreach center will be open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Classroom 5 on the first floor of Technical Building 1 on Southern Union’s campus.
FEMA Help for survivors will still be available after the DRCs close.
The FEMA Helpline is staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice. Call 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or video relay services) or 800-462-7585 for TTY users. Use the Helpline to:
- Register with FEMA for assistance.
- Provide a change of address, telephone and bank account numbers and insurance information.
- Receive information about FEMA home inspections.
- Get other questions answered about federal disaster assistance.
- Ask questions about a determination letter from FEMA.
- Learn how to appeal a FEMA decision.
- Applicants should have the nine-digit FEMA registration number issued when they registered for assistance.
Survivors are also strongly encouraged to set up a disaster account with FEMA online. This is an easy way to keep in touch with FEMA. Applicants can:
- Upload critical documentation.
- Check the status of the application and inspection.
- Update personal information, such as current mailing address and phone number.
- Securely view messages from FEMA.
- Access the FEMA Internet Helpdesk (for online account issues only).
To set up a disaster account online:
- Go to https://www.DisasterAssitance.gov
- Select the “Create Account” button at the bottom of the page and follow instructions.
- A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. You can then log into your account.
- Documents can be uploaded in the Upload Center. (This page takes you to the login if you are returning to add more documents: https://go.usa.gov/xUPX5)
Applicants can submit important documents as well by faxing them to (800) 827-8112, being sure to include the registration number prominently on the cover page, or by mailing them to:
FEMA – Individuals & Households Program National Processing Service Center P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
Remember that applicants must submit documents to FEMA either by uploading, faxing or mailing them. Simply showing them to a FEMA inspector will not suffice.