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Misconceptions keep qualified people from applying for help

Friday, February 11, 2005

Misconceptions surrounding disaster recovery aid may be preventing qualifying individuals from collecting designated financial assistance.

"Most people don't know they even qualify," said Bryan Husband, Clay County Emergency Management Agency Director. "They didn't realize there was an opportunity for them to get some help."

Clay County was put on the list of counties to qualify for federal disaster assistance after inclement weather, particularly large quantities of rain, caused extensive flooding in several areas.

"Fill out the papers, call the number. They may be able to help you," he said.

A disaster recovery center is set up at South Vigo High School on Seventh Street, Terre Haute, to help residents who are unsure of whether or not their damage "counts," he explained. Personnel is also on hand to help fill out paperwork.

"If you had any kind of damage, call and see," Husband said. "The worst they can tell you is no."

State and federal disaster recovery officials say the best way to avoid confusion caused by misinformation is to call to personally learn what kind of assistance is available. Residents can begin the disaster assistance process by calling FEMA's toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For those with speech or hearing impairment, the special TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. every day until further notice. Individuals with Internet access have the option to apply on the agency's Web site at www.fema.gov. Recovery information may also be accessed online.

Residents with questions may contact Husband at the Clay County Emergency Management Agency office at Brazil by dialing 448-8400.

Temporary assistance centers available

Federal, state and county emergency management officials has opened six temporary Disaster Recovery Centers to serve the victims of the severe winter storms and flooding that began Jan. 1. Persons do not need a reservation or need to reside in the county in which the DRC is set up.

Regular hours for the Vigo County DRC are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until further notice. It is at South Vigo High School, 3737 S. Seventh St., Terre Haute.



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