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Tennessee Area Focus

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  • Time Running Out to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance for Wildfire Damage

    Time Running Out to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance for Wildfire Damage

    Time Running Out to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance for Wildfire Damage






    January 30, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 30, 2017) - - Survivors needing disaster assistance for damage from the Sevier County wildfires are encouraged to register soon. Time is running out.

    Federal disaster assistance is available to eligible individuals and households and those who were working in or visiting Sevier County and were affected by the Nov. 28-Dec. 9 wildfires. The deadline to register for disaster assistance is Monday, Feb. 13.

    Applying for disaster assistance is a two-step process that ensures consideration for all FEMA programs and disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. First, register with FEMA. Second, complete and return the SBA loan application, if one is offered. There is no charge to apply for the loan and if approved, no obligation to accept it.

    Disaster survivors may register with FEMA the following ways:


    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish).

    • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).

    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Help is available in most languages and information on the registration process is available in ASL at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111546.





    The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, homeowners, renters and private nonprofit organizations.

    The filing deadline to return SBA loan applications for physical property damage is also Monday, Feb. 13. The deadline for businesses to submit loan applications for economic injury is Sept. 15, 2017.

    For more information, call SBA’s disaster assistance customer service center at 800-659-2955, email disastercustomerservice@s ba.gov or visit sba.gov/disaster. TTY users can call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the electronic loan application via SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, MountainTough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.




    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • Federal Disaster Assistance Approaches $6 Million for Sevier County Wildfires

    Federal Disaster Assistance Approaches $6 Million for Sevier County Wildfires

    Federal Disaster Assistance Approaches $6 Million for Sevier County Wildfires




    January 14, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 13, 2017) - - Survivors of the Sevier County wildfires have received nearly $5.9 million in federal disaster assistance and loans from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

    With the Feb. 13 deadline approaching to register for FEMA disaster assistance, here is a snapshot of the wildfire recovery in Tennessee since the Dec. 15 major disaster declaration.

    Except as noted, the figures below are from close of business Jan. 12:


    • Registrations approved for disaster assistance: 323

    • Individuals and Households Program amount approved: nearly $2.4 million

    • Housing Assistance approved: nearly $1.3 million

    • Other Needs Assistance approved: nearly $1.1 million

    • Percentage of housing inspections completed: 95 percent



    SBA loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes totaled: more than $3.5 million, including:


    more than $2.2 million in loans to homeowners and renters

    $574,000 in loans to businesses for physical disaster damage

    $740,400 in economic injury disaster loans to businesses to replace working capital lost due to the disaster.

    508 survivor visits to the two disaster recovery center locations established during the recovery.


    Federal disaster assistance is available to eligible individuals and households, and to those who were working in or visiting Sevier County between Nov. 28 and Dec. 9 and had disaster-related damage.

    Disaster survivors may register for federal assistance the following ways:


    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish).

    • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).

    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Help is available in most languages.


    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, MountainTough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.


    ^

    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • Sevier County Wildfire Survivors Reminded to Use Disaster Grants for Intended Purpose

    Sevier County Wildfire Survivors Reminded to Use Disaster Grants for Intended Purpose






    January 14, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 12, 2017) - - Officials urge survivors of the Sevier County wildfires to use their federal disaster aid for its intended purpose. Improperly using the funds could violate the declaration survivors sign to receive the grants and could result in future assistance being denied.

    Once approved for disaster grants, survivors receive FEMA aid via check or an electronic direct deposit to their checking account. They receive a letter from FEMA providing information about the grant and how the money can be spent.

    Before survivors receive their grants, they must sign a declaration and a release certifying that all funds will be spent on the expenses for which they are intended.

    These grants are for repairs, temporary housing and other approved, essential disaster-related costs. Disaster recovery officials are available to help survivors understand the way grants should be spent after they receive the funds. Survivors of the Sevier County wildfires who have questions about their grants should call FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362.

    Federal officials caution that the funds may be deposited into bank accounts before letters announcing the grants are delivered to survivors.

    Housing funds may be used for:


    • Rental assistance. Applicants who have a continuing need for temporary rental assistance must turn in valid lease and utility receipts to receive additional assistance.

    • Reimbursement for lodging expenses directly related to the disaster.

    • Repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems or other structural elements to return a home to a safe and functional condition.

    • Rebuilding a disaster-damaged home.

    • Recipients of FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program grants may use the funds for:

    • Essential personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, appliances and vehicle repair or replacement.




    Disaster-related medical, dental, moving and child-care expenses.

    Applicants should be sure to update their personal information including addresses, phone numbers and bank accounts. If FEMA does not have the correct contact information, disaster survivors may miss letters or phone calls about their applications for assistance or payment status.

    FEMA grants cannot duplicate payments from other sources. For example, if a grant recipient receives an insurance settlement covering expenses already paid for by FEMA, those duplicated funds must be returned to FEMA.

    Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and households that suffered damage or losses in the Sevier County wildfires of Nov. 28 to Dec. 9. Survivors are encouraged to keep their information updated by logging into their accounts:


    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish).

    • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).

    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Help is available in most languages.





    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, MountainTough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.


    ^

    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • Maximize Federal Assistance by Completing U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Application

    Maximize Federal Assistance by Completing U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Application






    January 14, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 10, 2017) - - Disaster survivors who were affected by the Sevier County wildfires and were referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration could lose some income-based FEMA grants if they don’t complete and submit SBA’s loan application.

    FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance grants may cover uninsured losses for furniture, appliances and other essential personal property, even vehicles. Survivors will not be considered for this type of assistance unless they complete and return the SBA loan application. The information on the application is used to determine eligibility for income-based assistance.

    Disaster survivors who were affected by the Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 wildfires in Sevier County are encouraged to register with FEMA and, if referred, complete and submit an SBA loan application,

    even if they don’t want a loan. Survivors should start the loan process as soon as possible.

    SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

    Those who qualify for an SBA loan are under no obligation to accept it. If approved and the loan is not accepted, the survivor may be ineligible for additional federal assistance.

    Insurance is a property owner’s first line of defense. FEMA grants may be available to cover uninsured or underinsured losses.

    Survivors should submit an SBA loan application even if they are waiting for an insurance settlement.

    A survivor’s insurance policy may not cover all the replacement, repair and rebuilding costs. A disaster loan is available to cover the difference.

    To repair or help rebuild a primary residence, a homeowner may borrow up to $200,000 from SBA. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 from SBA to replace personal property.

    Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury. SBA offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.

    Survivors of the Sevier County wildfires can register with FEMA the following ways:


    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish).

    • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).

    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Help is available in most languages.


    The filing deadline to return SBA loan applications for physical property damage is Feb. 13. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Sept. 15.

    For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s disaster assistance customer service center at 800-659-2955, email disastercustomerservice@s ba.gov or visit sba.gov/disaster. TTY users can call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the electronic loan application via SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

    SBA customer service representatives are also available to answer questions, help complete loan applications and close loans at a business recovery center that opened Jan. 9 in Gatlinburg.

    Sevier County

    Location:

    Citizens National Bank Building

    (Former United Way Office)

    906 East Parkway

    Gatlinburg, TN 37738

    Hours:

    Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Saturdays and Sundays: Closed.



    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, MountainTough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.


    ^

    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • Aid May Be Available to Repair or Replace Vehicles Damaged by Wildfires

    Aid May Be Available to Repair or Replace Vehicles Damaged by Wildfires

    Aid May Be Available to Repair or Replace Vehicles Damaged by Wildfires







    January 14, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 9, 2017) - - Disaster survivors whose vehicles were damaged or destroyed by the Sevier County wildfires of Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 may be eligible to receive federal assistance to repair or replace those vehicles.

    “Those who may be eligible include not just residents of Sevier County but those who were working in or visiting Sevier County between Nov. 28 and Dec. 9, and had disaster-related damage to their vehicles,” said Federal Coordinating Officer W. Michael Moore, who is in charge of FEMA’s operations in Tennessee.

    The following conditions apply to assistance for a damaged or destroyed vehicle:

    • The damaged vehicle must have complied with applicable state laws regarding title, vehicle registration and insurance requirements at the time of the damage.

    • Only those who maintain at least liability insurance will be considered to receive federal disaster assistance to repair or replace their vehicles. Liability coverage is the minimum insurance requirement for Tennessee drivers.

    • Survivors who have a comprehensive policy should first file a claim with their insurance company. Comprehensive policies usually pay for fire damage to a vehicle. However, federal disaster assistance may help fill the gap for those whose comprehensive insurance coverage does not pay for any or all fire-related damage costs.

    • Survivors must submit an itemized document showing damage to the vehicles was fire-related, in addition to a receipt, estimate or verifiable bill of the repair or replacement costs.



    Survivors whose vehicles were damaged or destroyed by the Sevier County wildfires are encouraged to apply with FEMA for disaster assistance. Here are the ways to register:
    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish).

    • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).

    • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.


    Help is available in most languages, and information on the registration process is available in American Sign Language at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111546.

    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, mountaintough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.


    ^

    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • Free Legal Assistance Available to Sevier County Wildfire Survivors

    Free Legal Assistance Available to Sevier County Wildfire Survivors

    Free Legal Assistance Available to Sevier County Wildfire Survivors





    January 14, 2017


    Sevierville, TN - - (January 9, 2017) - - — Free legal assistance is now available to low-income survivors of the Sevier County wildfires who need help with home repair contracts, counseling on landlord-tenant issues or assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims.

    Survivors who can’t afford to hire a lawyer for their disaster-related legal issues will be matched with Tennessee lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.

    Legal assistance can include:

    • help securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors

    • replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster

    • assistance with consumer protection issues such as price gouging and avoiding contractor scams during rebuilding

    • counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems


    Federal disaster assistance is available to eligible individuals and households affected by the Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 wildfires in Sevier County.

    The legal helpline to connect disaster survivors with legal aid providers is 844-435-7486. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Callers will be directed to an extension created specifically for wildfire-related legal assistance. They can leave a message and the call will be returned by a volunteer attorney.

    Callers may also visit Help4TN.org for resources and other information as it becomes available.

    Legal Aid of East Tennessee plans to hold a clinic on Monday, Jan. 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Courtyard Gatlinburg, 315 Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg.

    Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Tennessee lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. Assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee; for example, those cases in which attorneys are paid part of the settlement by a court. Such cases are referred to a local lawyer referral service.

    Consultations with attorneys are confidential.

    Legal services are provided by FEMA partners, including the Tennessee Bar Association, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the National Disaster Legal Aid Online.

    For updates on Tennessee’s wildfire response and recovery, follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and visit TNEMA.org/, MountainTough.org/ and fema.gov/disaster/4293.


    ^

    Information source: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • AmeriCorps Responds to Tennessee Wildfires

    AmeriCorps Responds to Tennessee Wildfires

    AmeriCorps Responds to Tennessee Wildfires



    AmeriCorps National Community Civiian Corps teams and specialized emergency response members deployed to assist recovery efforts





    January 9, 2017



    Washington, DC - - (December 9, 2016) - - The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced the first resources deployed to support the response to the wildfires in Tennessee. The more than 30 AmeriCorps members, many of whom come from the agency’s National Community Civilian Corps (NCCC) program, are spread from the Great Smoky Mountains into Sevier County.

    Currently, three AmeriCorps NCCC teams have boots on the ground at the Rocky Top Sports Complex and Volunteer Reception Center in the Gatlinburg area. The AmeriCorps NCCC members are providing support for shelter operations, donations management, meal distribution, as well as critical manpower to the Volunteer Reception Center. In addition, six AmeriCorps members from the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response team are on the ground to help coordinate volunteer management efforts at the East Tennessee Volunteer Center.

    “As Tennesseans return home and begin to rebuild, the national service family stands with them shoulder to shoulder in their time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. “We are inspired by the resilience of those affected and the swift and coordinated response of emergency personnel, government agencies, and nonprofit and faith-based groups whose work is helping save lives, provide shelter, and rebuild communities. Working handing in hand with local partners, the AmeriCorps members hitting the ground will provide vital relief to residents. We are committed to helping the people of Tennessee recover, both now and over the long haul, to ensure that every family is able to return safely to their homes.”

    CNCS is coordinating closely with state and local authorities to monitor and assess additional resources needed within the community. In addition, the agency is working with Volunteer Tennessee, the state service commission responsible for implementing national service programs across the state.

    Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including the Flint, Mich. water emergency, 2016 Louisiana Flood, 2014 Southeast Michigan flood, Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 floods in Colorado, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., the explosion in West, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.

    Through all its programs and initiatives, CNCS helps communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers can serve in a wide range of high-level roles, including assisting with evacuation and special needs residents, supporting long-term recovery, running volunteer centers and base camps, and leading large groups of volunteers.

    Currently, more than 5,350 Tennessee residents serve through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps in more than 1,000 locations across the state. They tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, respond to disasters, increase economic opportunity, and recruit and manage volunteers. CNCS has committed more than $18 million to support Tennessee communities through national service initiatives, which leveraged an additional $26.6 million in other resources to strengthen community impact.

    More than 12,000 Tennessee residents have served more than 24 million hours since the program’s inception in 1994, earning Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, or scholarships, totaling more than $42.6 million.


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    Information source: Corporation for National and Community Service...
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