There has been a significant number of named storms thus far even though we are only halfway through the 2020 Hurricane Season. Because we reside in an area that is regularly threatened by hurricanes, it is important to know about resources available to disaster survivors. One of the primary, and most well-known, resources is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Once a disaster declaration is made, FEMA and its wide array of resources are activated. If someone is in need of housing assistance, FEMA may be able to provide rental assistance for renters and limited repair assistance for homeowners. If personal items are destroyed, FEMA may be able to provide financial assistance for school and work uniforms, school supplies, work tools, and medical equipment through its Other Needs program. However, FEMA does not serve as an insurance provider and is not in a position to make a survivor whole. Instead, FEMA assistance is available to help individuals and families attain safe, sanitary, and habitable lodgings, and for certain essential items as noted above. Many applications are denied for what are often vague or overly general reasons. FEMA applicants, however, have the right to appeal these decisions. Legal Services of Greater Miami provides legal assistance with FEMA denials, advising clients on documentation that can support a claim, researching the applicable federal regulations, and help with the drafting of written arguments in support of appeals. Legal Services is another invaluable resource for disaster survivors who find themselves lost in or shut out of the FEMA system.
Check out our Hurricane Safety Checklist below to make sure you are ready this hurricane season.