Since Gov. Greitens and President Trump have gone through the legal motions necessary to help flood victims in Missouri, there are now federal boots on the ground according to Scott Chamberlin, a public assistance representative with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Since Gov. Greitens and President Trump have gone through the legal motions necessary to help flood victims in Missouri, there are now federal boots on the ground according to Scott Chamberlin, a public assistance representative with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“There are FEMA personnel in the state and more coming to help support this operation,” he said.
“There are 27 counties right now under [President Trump’s declaration], for individual assistance. Individuals, households or business owners who have been affected by the severe weather can call and register for federal disaster assistance.”

Chamberlin says there are two ways flood victims can get help. They can go to DisasterAssistance.gov or they can call 800-621-3362 or 800-621-FEMA. He explains it doesn’t take long to register—they just need some basic information, such as name, property address, contact number, social security number and insurance information.

“An inspector will come out to the property and meet them and go through what damage they may have,” he said. “The Small Business Administration (SBA) will also be available.”
SBA offers federal low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. According to John Frederick, SBA public information officer, if you are a homeowner or renter, FEMA may refer you to the SBA because disaster loans are the primary source of money to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.

Assistance rep Chamberlin said, “right now, FEMA is just trying to get everyone impacted by the storms to register.”
“We have disaster survivor assistance teams canvassing all of these counties, so you may see some FEMA folks out in the communities.”

The assistance comes in the form of federal grants that will help people repair or replace their damaged homes. There is also temporary rental assistance monies for certain situations.
“It just depends on what type of damage and what type of insurance they have,” he noted.
“Insurance is the first line of recovery funds, but flooding requires specific flooding insurance and some people may be under insured or uninsured.”
An important point to remember for those who register is that federal funds can’t duplicate other assistance, so federal assistance is a stop-gap to see that those with damage are fully covered.

What about those uninsured folks that have sustained flood damage—does it make a difference to receive monetary help?
“Absolutely not,” said Chamberlin. “Anyone who has suffered damage should call and register because that helps them, us and the state help capture any damage that might have been missed when we did initial damage assessments.”

It took awhile to get the disaster declaration at the federal level and FEMA knows many homeowners have already started cleanup and repairs.
“They should document as best they can—take pictures that are dated—keep receipts,” he said. “This work may be reimbursable as well.”
Out buildings are not covered by this Individual Assistance Program money, but could be covered through other departments such as SBA or the Department of Agriculture, in the case of flooded and damaged farm land.
The Individual Assistance Program covers a primary residence only—not vacation or rental homes. “These funds are to make that primary home safe, sanitary and secure,” he added.

What about total buyouts?
“The buyout program is a part of the mitigation program that will happen after the fact,” he explained. “Right now, we are shaking the bushes to find those who have been most severely impacted from the storms of April 28 through May 11.”

Currently, disaster centers are popping up in the 27 effected counties. The Phelps County Disaster Center will be open from June 15-20 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Phelps County Courthouse.

“All disasters are individual by nature,” said Chamberlin. “It’s your own personal [Hurricane} Katrina. It may not be a Type 1 disaster, but if your house is flooded, you’ve lost your belongings and you can’t stay there—that’s a life changing event for people. We want them to know there is help available.”