Disaster center to open Monday

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced earlier this week that it will open a Disaster Recovery Center in Suffolk starting Monday.

The announcement came after Suffolk was added to the federal disaster declaration for individual assistance related to damage suffered from Hurricane Matthew.

The center will be open at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St. It will initially be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., until further notice, according to a city press release.

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Staff at the recovery center will be able to check individuals’ cases, answer questions about claims or review information needed to process claims. Specialists from the U.S. Small Business Administration and Virginia Department of Emergency Management will also be on site.

Even if damages have previously been reported to the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development, residents and businesses must also apply for federal assistance aid directly with FEMA.

Residents in Suffolk will be able to get federal aid recovering from the hurricane following a declaration by President Barack Obama last week.

Obama added Suffolk, Portsmouth and Hampton to the individual assistance disaster declaration that already included residents in Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News.

The additional localities were made eligible at the request of Gov. Terry McAuliffe after further information was provided on the scale of the disaster in these localities.

The Individual Assistance programs made available to communities through the disaster declaration provide several forms of recovery assistance for individuals and households. Assistance can include help with temporary housing, reimbursement of lodging assistance, and financial assistance for repair or replacement of their home. Damage to an essential vehicle, moving and storage expenses, clean-up items, medical and child care expenses, and damage to essential household items, clothing, tools required for your job and necessary educational materials are all covered if related to the disaster, as are funeral expenses.

In addition to visiting the Disaster Recovery Center in person, there are three additional ways to register:

  • Call toll-free 800-621-FEMA or TTY 800-462-7585. The telephone lines are staffed daily from 7 a.m. to 1 0 p.m. Help is available in most languages.
  • Register on your computer at www.disasterassistance.gov.
  • Register on your smartphone at m.fema.gov.

Visit FEMA’s website at www.disasterassistance.gov for more information.