Mississippi Storm Damage Assistance Tops $2 million

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – More than $2.1 million in state and federal disaster assistance has been disbursed to help those affected by the storms and flooding in Mississippi that began Jan. 21, 2017.

Of this amount, nearly $1.6 million was for housing assistance for repairing/rebuilding homes and rental assistance to provide 300 households a temporary place to live. Additionally, more than $572,000 in other needs assistance was delivered to help cover the costs of replacing lost contents, medical, dental and other disaster-related expenses.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been contacted by nearly 1,800 people for help or information regarding disaster assistance.

In addition to FEMA grants for individuals and families, other forms of disaster assistance are provided by partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and voluntary agencies. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and FEMA often refer survivors to those agencies. All businesses are also referred to the SBA.

No matter the degree of loss or insurance coverage, survivors who sustained damage in the four disaster-designated Mississippi counties are urged to apply for help. The Individual Assistance-designated counties are Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry.

Individuals and businesses in any of the four designated Mississippi counties begin the disaster assistance process by registering with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

Survivors can speak in person with state, federal and voluntary agency representatives by visiting a disaster recovery center. Centers are open in Forrest and Lamar counties. To locate the nearest center, call the FEMA helpline or go to fema.gov/drc.

For more information on Mississippi’s tornado recovery, go to fema.gov/disaster/4295 or visit the MEMA site at msema.org. Follow MEMA on Facebook facebook.com/msemaorg and on Twitter @msema.