How to Get Help

This site maintains contact information, handouts, guides, and anything else we can provide as a reference to help people recover under the Quick References and Contact Info pages.  If you need something and you can’t find it here, ask us and we’ll find it or create it.

If you have been affected by Irene and have not already done so, the first thing to do is call 2-1-1; this updates the state and the people there can refer you for other services.

Now that Windham County has received both public and individual disaster declarations, FEMA workers are in the County and in the process of setting up a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Brattleboro.  Outreach workers will use this facility as a central meeting area as they travel into other towns, and individuals and businesses will also be able to go directly to the DRC for assistance in the application process.

State and Local Help

Businesses: Businesses should call the Agency of Commerce and Community Development at (ACCD) at 828-3211 to report damage that will be collated for VEM and FEMA. ACCD will also make referrals for financing and technical assistance. The information needed when businesses make the call is: name of business, location (complete address), description of damage, point of contact, date damage occurred. There are additional questions for historic properties.

Farms: To report damages to property such as but not limited to barns, milking parlors, crops, fields, equipment, etc., call your county USDA Farm Service Agency or your county Natural Resources Conservation Services office. Organizations such as the Vermont Farm Bureau (802-434-5646) or NOFA Vermont (802-434-4122) can also be called. These organizations will send a summary of the information to the Agency of Agriculture which will forward it to VEM. Farmers experiencing loss of crops due to flooding should contact their crop insurance agent as well as the USDA Farm Service Agency (802-658-2803).

Emergency Flood Assistance Program for Businesses: The Governor and legislative leaders announced this afternoon their intentions of an expanded version of the Emergency Flood Assistance Program to provide $10 million of very low interest, no first year payment, loans to businesses which suffered losses due to flooding. This program, administered by VEDA, was created after this spring’s floods and there is some money currently available to jump-start the dissemination of loans. These loans will be administered immediately. Interested businesses should go to VEDA’s website (http://www.veda.org/) for more information.

Federal Help

Assistance for losses sustained anytime after the storm may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster. Even those with insurance may be eligible for help from FEMA if their insurance policy does not cover all their needs. To apply:

Step 1: Register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There are several ways to register:

  • Apply online anytime at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY at 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to assist with the application process.
  • By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov, or for devices with the Android operating system, a FEMA App can be downloaded at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android.

When applying for aid you will receive a nine-digit registration number that can be used for reference when corresponding with FEMA.  If you did not get a nine-digit number, you did not complete registration.

It is helpful to have the following information handy:

  • Current telephone number;
  • Address at the time of the disaster and current address;
  • Social Security number, if available;
  • A general list of damages and losses;
  • If insured, the name of insurance company, agent and policy number; and
  • Bank routing number for any direct deposit.

Step 2: Receive a property inspection.

Within a few days after registering, eligible applicants will be telephoned to make an appointment to have their damaged property inspected. The inspectors, who are FEMA contractors and carry identification badges, visit to make a record of damage. They do not make a determination regarding assistance. There is no cost for the inspection.

Step 3: All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding the status of their requests for federal assistance. Some will also receive an application for a low-interest disaster recovery loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Anyone who has questions about the letter from FEMA should call the helpline (800-621-3362 or TTY, 800-462-7585).

Those who receive an application packet from the SBA should complete and submit the forms. No one is required to accept a loan but submitting the application may open the door to additional FEMA grants.

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