Disaster Recovery Center will help assist flood survivors

A Disaster Recovery Center is opening in Aurora Tuesday, June 12, to help Indiana flood survivors in Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland counties who suffered damage from the severe storms and flooding Feb. 14 through March 4.

The center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Aurora Lions Club, 228 Second St., Aurora.

Disaster Recovery Centers offers in-person support to individuals and business owners. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Indiana are available to provide assistance to anyone filling out their applications or updating their status. Voluntary organizations are available and offer a variety of services to help survivors recover.  

Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland are among the 13 Indiana counties recently added to the list of counties eligible for disaster assistance.
Homeowners and renters whose primary residence is in Dearborn, Ohio or Switzerland may apply for federal disaster assistance to cover uninsured losses for damage caused by the flooding that occurred Feb. 14 through March 4, 2018.

Business owners in these counties may also apply for assistance. The deadline to apply is Thursday, July 5.

Keep in mind when applying for Individual Assistance:
The flood damage must have occurred at your primary residence.
FEMA cannot pay for damage covered by insurance or duplicate benefits from another source.
FEMA grants are meant for costs to return your home to a safe, sanitary and functional place to live. Damage to non-essential space or property is not eligible under FEMA programs.

Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA before the July 5 deadline. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register in one of the following ways:
Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS). If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. Information on the registration process is available in ASL at: fema.gov/medialibrary/assets/videos/111546.
The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time (6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central time), seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
Download the FEMA App and apply.

Survivors should also contact their insurance company to file an insurance claim. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments.

However, those without insurance or those who may be underinsured may still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.

Meanwhile with 35 counties having declared local emergencies following severe flooding earlier this year, the Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are warning residents to beware of “storm chasers” and other scammers.

“Storm chasers” are companies that target communities after severe weather events and sell their services to repair damaged homes and other property.

These individuals typically will conduct door-to-door sales in storm-ravaged communities, urging consumers to immediately sign contracts with their companies. Some companies may seek immediate down payments for future work. Hoosiers should be wary of such operations as these crews may perform sub-quality work or even fail to perform the work at all after receiving payment.

In April of 2017, Attorney General Hill launched the “Double Check Before You Write a Check” campaign to remind Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from becoming victims of storm chasers.

Helpful tips for flooding recovery:
 Avoid agreeing to any repair or restoration work on the spot during initial contact with someone offering services.
 Avoid signing any contracts or other legally binding agreements without first gathering information and researching a business being represented.
 Obtain information about the individual offering his or her services.
 Research any company an individual claims to represent.
 Use licensed local contractors who are backed by reliable references
 Get written estimates from at least three contractors that include the cost of labor and materials.
 Insist that contractors carry general liability insurance and workers’ compensation.

For more information on Indiana’s flood recovery,www.fema.gov/disaster/4363.