Officials advise applicants not to splurge their disaster assistance grants
BATON ROUGE – State and federal officials are advising flood applicants who have received disaster assistance grants or loans to resist the urge to splurge and make smart decisions with their recovery funds.
With more than $202 million in assistance already granted to applicants, officials remind that assistance is meant to help flood victims pay for necessities and begin to get back on their feet.
Disaster assistance may include grants and loans to help pay for emergency repairs to damaged homes, temporary housing, or other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.
A letter explaining a payment's purpose will arrive within a day or two of the check or direct deposit payment. If applicants use payments on anything other than their intended purpose, they may have to repay those fund and might not be able to receive disaster assistance.
The state and FEMA provide assistance to eligible applicants primarily as Housing Assistance and/or Other Needs Assistance. Federal help is also available in the form of low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners or renters to recover.
FEMA Housing Assistance grants may be used for:
- Temporary rental assistance
- Repairs necessary to a damaged home
- Replacing a home that was completely destroyed.
Other Needs Assistance grants may be used to cover disaster-related expenses such as:
- Medical, dental, funeral and burial costs
- Replacement of disaster-damaged personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items and appliances
- Vehicle repair or other serious needs
Survivors who have not yet registered may do so at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. They may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. phone lines are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.