WACO, Texas – The City of Waco and McLennan County opened up a FEMA application center at the East Waco Library to help residents apply for repair assistance to home and business owners affected by the winter storm.
Melett Harrison is the Director of Neighborhood Engagements for the City of Waco, who says the goal is to help the people in the community who do not have access to internet and can not fill out the application themselves.
“FEMA’s application process for storm damage is only online this time. So what we know is there is a lot of folks in our community who either may not have internet access, or may not be comfortable with computers with that level of submitting an application for Federal assistance.”
“If they need the assistance, we will help them input the entire information they need to include,” Harrison said. “That would include social security number, household income, bank account information – if they choose to to have FEMA direct deposited to them.”
Harrison said there is strict confidentiality, and there are no records kept on file from the assistance help.
“The people provide us the information, we input it into the FEMA application on the screen, and then it goes to FEMA,” Harrison said.
The staff can assist with inputting the information or watch alongside the resident in case questions come up.
“We are not FEMA experts, FEMA employees. We don’t have any special tips or tricks to help somebody get FEMA assistance,” Harrison said. “This is strictly meant to help people who would not otherwise be able to apply to be able to get into that online system and submit an application.”
Wednesday is the first day of operation for the center, and it will continue through March 12th – unless demand requires them to extend it.
“We are setting up appointments typically on the hour, to allow plenty of time to help someone walk through the application, and hopefully assist them however they need,” Harrison said.
The assistance is by appointment only, and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
“I would just encourage anyone who is in need of repair because of the storm that they have a damage to their home or their business to consider, after they have dealt with their insurance company applying for FEMA assistance,” Harrison said.
The center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and the center begins accepting calls at 9:00 a.m. To schedule an appointment, you can call 254-313-9508.
Tips from FEMA:
>Before applying to FEMA for assistance, the property owner must complete the claim process with their insurance company.
>FEMA programs do not pay for fuel or cover food losses. If you have immediate needs for food or shelter, you may contact 2-1-1 for local resources.
>Applicants are required to inform FEMA of all insurance coverage such as flood, homeowner’s, renter’s, etc. that may be available to them. Insured applicants must provide FEMA documentation such as an insurance settlement or denial letter to process their application.
>Additional tips and a guide to needed documentation are available online: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4586