published Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

FEMA centers closing

The last two Southeast Tennessee tornado disaster recovery centers are set to close permanently at 6 p.m. Saturday, according to FEMA spokesman Greg Hughes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency tornado recovery centers at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale and in downtown Cleveland, Tenn., have been open for seven weeks, since the devastating April 27 tornadoes.

However, the June 25 closings do not mean that storm survivors will not be able to continue to contact FEMA. Those who have applied for disaster assistance may continue to reach FEMA with questions and for information about their applications at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or at Callers should have their registration number handy.

Anyone who has not yet contacted FEMA is encouraged to do so immediately, even if they had insurance, Hughes said. FEMA may be able to help with uninsured property losses. The final day to apply is Aug. 9. Applicants should prepare a list of uninsured losses and have their insurance policy information available, even if their claim has not been paid. FEMA also can help pay the rent for families forced to live elsewhere while their residences are being rebuilt or repaired.

Storm survivors who have received a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application also are encouraged to complete it and mail it or bring it to the disaster recovery center before 6 p.m. Saturday — even if they are not interested in a low-interest, long-term rebuilding loan now, Hughes said. They may change their minds later. Those who are turned down for an SBA loan may be eligible for further FEMA assistance.

To date, $1.28 million has been paid to 2,215 Hamilton County homeowners and renters; $1.03 million has been paid to 1,536 Bradley County residents who were affected by the storms, Hughes said.

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