More than 200 apply for help

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2016

More than 200 people in Suffolk affected by Hurricane Matthew, which struck the state Oct. 8-9, have applied for assistance after the program was opened to Suffolk residents last month, but a deadline is coming up soon for people who haven’t yet applied to do so.

“We’re very encouraged by the number of survivors who have registered,” said Steven Solomon, a media relations specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Solomon said the deadline to register is Jan. 3.

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“We hope that anyone who hasn’t yet registered will do so,” he said.

Of the 204 people who have registered in Suffolk, about $350,276 in housing assistance has been tallied. About $19,034 in assistance for other needs has been applied for.

The Individual Assistance programs made available through FEMA 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.

Separately, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved about $7 million worth of loans throughout the eligible Virginia localities, said John Frederick with the SBA. The SBA helps homeowners and renters as well as businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations.

SBA loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies.

Frederick encouraged people to apply for SBA loans. If approved, they’re under no obligation to take out the loan, “but it’s part of the process,” he said.

“It’s easier than doing your taxes,” he added. “If they have a little bit of time, we encourage everybody to go ahead and apply and see if they can help you.”

In-person help is available at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, located in the East Suffolk Recreation Center at 138 S. Sixth St. The center has changed operating hours. It is now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Previously, it was open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Residents must apply for aid directly with FEMA and report damages. There are three ways to apply now:

  • Call toll-free at (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585.
  • Register on your computer at
  • Register your smartphone at

Visit for more information about Small Business Administration loans.