Agencies offering disaster assistance

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A disaster recovery center has been opened in Beaufort County at the Beaufort County Health Department, 1436 Highland Drive, Washington.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and North Carolina Emergency Management opened the center, which will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Representatives from FEMA, NCEM and the U.S Small Business Administration will be at the center to assist people and businesses affected by Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding. The Beaufort County FEMA/State DRC is open to provide a place where you can apply for disaster assistance and get information about available state and federal assistance and other recovery information.

John Pack, the county’s emergency-services director, asked for the center to be open additional days, according to Sharon Karr, a FEMA media-relations specialist. The request has not been authorized by Tuesday afternoon.

“The request has been made. We are waiting on a response,” Karr said.

Bradford Caldwell, a spokesman for the Small Business Administration, said the federal and state representatives would meet one-on-one with residents and business owners to answer their questions and provide assistance with disaster-recovery programs.

By Tuesday, nearly $69 million in individual and household program funding had been approved by the federal government, with the majority of that amount — about $49 million — earmarked for housing assistance, and a little more than $19 million allocated for other-needs assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 22,619 applications for individual assistance had been approved by Saturday.

Housing assistance provides money for disaster-related housing needs, while other-needs assistance provides funds for other disaster-related needs such as household furnishings, transportation and medical care.

In Beaufort County, 805 registrants filed for assistance by Saturday, with the federal government approving $329,518 for individual assistance.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare or other federal benefits.

Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered losses or damages caused by Matthew should call 1-800-621-3362 to register for assistance or go online at and register by downloading FEMA’s mobile app, according to a news release. For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, the number is also 1-800-621-3362. For people using TTY, the number is 1-800-462-7585. These toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Operators are ready to assist people in multiple languages.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike