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  • Tammy L Wells

FEMA, U.S. SBA Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Wells

Updated: Apr 1


Folks with Jan. 9-13 storm damage encouraged to drop by, register

 

WELLS, Maine - York County residents and business owners whose properties sustained damage due to severe storms and flooding Jan. 9 - 13 can get information, help in applying for potential federal assistance, and learn about other resources available at the Disaster Recovery Center in Wells.


With the exception of closure on Easter Sunday, March 31, the DRC at Wells Fire Station # 2, 585 North Berwick Road (Route 9) in Wells, will be open 8 am to 6 pm daily, including weekends. Appointments are not required.


“Come in,” said Madaline Trepagnier, the DRC manager. “We are the stepping stone to help you on your path to recovery.”


The center, which includes representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and York County Emergency Management Agency, was established after President Joe Biden formally declared a disaster for eight coastal Maine counties. Any York County resident impacted by the storms – whether a tree fell through their roof in an inland town, rising seawater flooded their home or damaged a dock along the coast, or a renter lost personal property as a result of the storms – may be eligible for assistance through FEMA.


Additionally, individuals, families, business owners, and some non-profits may apply for low-interest disaster loans—some with interest as low as 2.68 percent—through the U.S. Small Business Administration, said SBA Public Affairs Specialist Brian Beard.


While people may register online, York County Emergency Management Agency Director Art Cleaves recommends an in-person visit—sitting down and speaking with representatives from FEMA and the U.S. SBA.


“It is critically important people go to the DRC because there are nuances in the system,” Cleaves said. And he noted there may be help through the SBA that might not be available through FEMA.


Wells resident John McCarthy stopped by the DRC on Thursday, March 28 to register and talk with a FEMA representative.


“My basement flooded,” he said, creating damage throughout the space.

Once someone registers with FEMA and the U.S. SBA, they’ll receive a follow-up call, and an inspector will arrange to come view the property.


As well, FEMA personnel, with proper identification, are knocking on doors in some neighborhoods, offering to register people whose properties sustained damage.


Trepagnier, who has been through a disaster herself – surviving Hurricane Katrina nearly 24 years ago, said many of her fellow FEMA workers are also disaster survivors.

“We know what it’s like,” she said. “It’s one step at a time.”


She noted some people who apply may receive a letter outlining that their application has been denied – but that could be for something minor like the agency needing more information to proceed. She said folks with a denial letter should read the entire document and respond.


“FEMA may be able to help,” she said. “Don’t just toss the letter.”


Beard pointed out that homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profits in York County who had damage from the January storms can apply for low-interest SBA disaster loans to cover damage not covered by insurance or another source.

 

As an example, he spoke of a family in Tennessee whose manufactured home was flattened in a hurricane. They were insured, said Beard, but the payout was designed to go to directly to their mortgage. Initially denied assistance, the couple applied for and was approved for a low-interest SBA loan.


“If you are refused, it’s important to follow up,” Beard said.


He pointed out that owners of seasonal properties that are used as rentals, and who pay tax on the rental income, could apply for a business loan with an interest rate at 4 percent.


And funds may be available for mitigation, designed to help folks rebuild stronger.

Beard said folks who are undecided about an SBA loan may apply now and have until May 20 to decide whether to proceed.


May 20 is also the deadline to register with FEMA. Those with questions may call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or visit disasterassistance.gov. Representatives say help is available in most languages.


The U.S. SBA customer service center may be reached at 800-659-2955 or online at: https://lending.sba.gov  


Those registering with FEMA or seeking a loan through the SBA  at the DRC should bring documents with them – insurance information if available, social security numbers, financial information, repair estimates, and the like. If repairs have been made, folks should bring a receipt.


The DRC is accessible to people with disabilities.




A FEMA representative speaks with Wells resident John McCarthy about damage to his property from the Jan. 9-13 storms. The center is located at Wells Fire Station # 2, 585 North Berwick Road (Route  9) in Wells.




Disaster Recovery Center Crew Leader Norman Palma and DRC manager Madaline Trepagnier are among Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel onsite at the DRC at Wells Fire Station # 2, 585 North Berwick Road (Route 9) in Wells. York County families and business owners who have damaged property as a result of the Jan. 9-13 storms may register for potential assistance there. Representatives with the US Small Business Administration and York County Emergency Management Agency are also onsite.

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