One storm can change your entire life. When a hurricane hits, individual lives and communities can be devastated in the blink of an eye.
We know that navigating the “what’s next” after a storm can be tremendously frustrating. We’re here to help.
Here’s how to get help if you’ve been affected by Hurricane Michael:
If you’ve suffered damage … call FEMA. Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Operators there will process your application, and further assistance will be coordinated through a local or regional Disaster Recovery Center. You may also apply online for federal disaster assistance.
If you don’t have a place to stay … you may be eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance through FEMA. This covers the cost to stay in certain hotels or motels for a limited period of time. Costs covered are for the cost of the room and taxes, but any other expenses aren’t included. Also, Expedia has activated its “emergency accommodations module”to assist anyone seeking lodging in North Florida and the Panhandle.
If your house made it, but the roof isn’t secure … reach out to Operation Blue Roof, which provides homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs. Operation Blue Roof is for primary residences or permanently occupied rental properties with less than 50 percent structural damage. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for the program.
If you need help with an insurance claim … contact the Florida’s Chief Financial Officer’s Division of Consumer Services. The consumer hotline (877-693-5236, weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST) offers consumers direct access to insurance experts to answer questions as well as provide information and resources. You can speak directly with individuals who can review your policies to help you understand your coverage, assist in filing claims for damage and offer direction in communicating with your insurance company.
If your business was damaged … low-interest disaster loans are available through the Federal Small Business Administration. These loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.
If you need legal assistance … a legal aid hotline is available to qualified Floridians in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties. Both English and Spanish voicemail recordings give instructions for callers to leave a message requesting storm-related legal assistance, and to provide their name, telephone number, county of residence and a description of their legal problems. Call:1-866-550-2929
If your income has been affected … the state Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program may bring you some relief to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted because of a hurricane. Apply online or by calling 800-385-3920.