PUERTO RICO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND DISASTER RESPONSE

PUERTO RICO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND DISASTER RESPONSE

PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU CALL US:

DISCLAIMER

Homeless To Independence Inc. is a 501©3 non-profit organization. We do NOT receive any grant funding what-so-ever to pay bills for anyone in any situation. We do not give away money. We do not give out loans against any money.

This ministry is supported with generous financial donations that are used to help keep us functioning. Our purpose is to help supply individuals and families with personal needs such as food, toiletries, clothing, household items, furniture and baby/adult diapers/wipes both locally and to areas effected by disasters . At this time, we do not offer any shelter or transitional housing services. Again, we DO NOT pay any bills. We DO NOT pay any rents or mortgages.

If you are actually homeless, or about to be homeless or need emergency assistance of any kind, DIAL “211” from a land-line telephone. This will not work from a cell telephone. Tell the receiver your situation and what you need. They will give you information specific for the location you are currently in plus any referrals you may need. They have the most up to the minute information for your specific area. Dialing “211” will get you help and much more info than this office can provide. Homeless to Independence wants you to have all the information you need to get through the situation you are in.

Don’t have a land-line telephone??? Go to your local police department, library, or house of worship and ask to use their land-line telephone. They may even make the call on your behalf.

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For those of you looking for employment through-out the United States, District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, simply send me an email to:

Ann@homelesstoindependence.org with:

1) the name of your State/Commonwealth, District of Columbia or Puerto Rico and
2) if you have a conviction and your record contains something more serious than a traffic conviction within the past 7-years. We do NOT need to know what the conviction was, we do not want to waste your time with opportunities you will not be qualified to apply for at this time.

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Homeless To Independence Inc. is not responsible for misprints or cancellations of events by the event holders, landlord and/or their agent, or ourselves. Homeless to Independence Inc. also reserves the right to “NOT” offer services to people and/or persons that are rude, unpleasant, and untruthful in any way shape or form, belligerent and the like.

OCCASIONALLY, THERE WILL BE ARTICLES BY OTHER WRITERS. HOMELESS TO INDEPENDENCE MAY NOT NECESSARILY AGREE WITH THEIR VIEWPOINTS, BUT WE DO RESPECT THEM. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION!

OFFICE CONTACT INFO:

HOMELESS TO INDEPENDENCE, INC.
405 SOUTH MAIN ST.
PHILLIPSBURG, NJ 08865

THE VERY BEST WAY TO CONTACT ME IS TO SEND ME AN EMAIL: ANN@HOMELESSTOINDEPENDENCE.ORG

OFFICE NUMBER IS: 1-908-454-1500 LISTEN TO THE RECORDING

Please note that our office does have very limited volunteer staff and if we are one telephone line we cannot answer the other line. There is simply not enough time in the day to answer and/or return each and every telephone call.

IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, NO ONE WILL CONTACT YOU BACK.

THANK YOU!!!

UPDATED 10-01-17
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Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program for
Puerto Rico Survivors in the Continental United States

FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program was announced on October 30, and survivors who were displaced from their homes by hurricanes Irma and Maria that self-evacuated to the United States and applied for FEMA assistance may be eligible under the program.
The TSA program allows eligible disaster survivors to shelter in a hotel or motel, for a limited period of time, as a bridge to intermediate and longer-term temporary housing.  Eligible survivors within the continental United States can now check into hotels participating in the TSA program. To verify eligibility, survivors can visit disasterassistance.gov or contact the FEMA Helpline (1-800-621-3362).
Eligible survivors can find the list of TSA-approved hotels on www.disasterassistance.gov by clicking on the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program – Participating Hotel List link.  Those without access to internet can call the FEMA Helpline (1-800-621-3362) for assistance with locating an eligible hotel or motel.
FEMA makes payments directly to participating hotels and motels for room rental and taxes up to the GSA rate. Survivors are responsible for all other costs such as room service, laundry, parking, telephone or other services.
TSA is only one of a wide range of housing options in use to meet the demand for safe housing for residents of Puerto Rico displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Private Sector Division at FEMA-Private-Sector@fema.dhs.gov.  
 
posted 11-07-17
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Update: Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Puerto Rico

The SBA has announced the following Disaster Recovery Centers currently operating in Puerto Rico to attend to homeowners, renters and individuals seeking disaster assistance in the aftermath of recent hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Aguadilla
Estadio Luis A. Canena Márquez, PR 2, Km 126.3
Arecibo
Coliseo Manuel G. Iguina Reyes, Expreso José de Diego (Sun. – Sat. from 7am – 6pm)
Barranquitas
Centro de Recepciones y Bellas Artes, Ave. José Zayas Green (Sun. – Sat. from 8am – 5pm)
Bayamón
Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel, Carr. 2, Int. Calle Estadio
Camuy
Centro Villa Pesquera, Bo. Membrillo, Sector Bajuras
Carolina
Cancha de Voleibol Domingo ” Lulo” González, Calle 24 Urb. Villa Carolina
Cayey
Estadio Pedro Montañez, PR 14, Int. José de Diego
Culebra
Escuela Ecológica, Calle Luis Muñoz Marín #250
Fajardo
Estado de Béisbol Concepción Pérez Alberto, Ave. Valero 310-312
Guánica
Club Puertorriqueño La Joya de Ensenada, Calle J Ensenada
Guayama
Centro de Convenciones, Carr. 54, Ave. Pedro Albizu Campos
Guaynabo
Centro Cultural Yolanda Guerrero, #9 Calle Parque de los Niños
Humacao
Centro de Bellas Artes de Humacao, Blvd.Nicanor Vázquez
Manatí
Cancha Ramón Tigre Siragusa, Carr. 149, Int. Carr. 670
Mayagüez
Estadio Isidoro Garcia, Carr. 102 & 63
Naranjito
Capilla Ecuménica, Sector El Cementerio, Bo. Achiote
Orocovis
Casa Alcaldía, #10 Calle Luis Muñoz Rivera
Ponce
Edificio Ponce Servicios, #72 Calle Mayor
Río Grande
Cancha Balonmano Néstor Milete Echevarría, PR 3, Km 2.3 Marginal Zona Industrial Las Flores (Sun. – Sat. from 7am – 6pm)
Toa Baja
Centro Deportivo El Llanero, 6ta Sección, Ave. Los Dominicos, Int. José de Diego
Utuado
Terminal Carros Públicos Carmelo Martell, Calle Sargento Malavé
Vieques
Centro de Usos Múltiples, Calle Antonio G. Mellado
Center Hours: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM / Sunday – Saturday (except Arecibo, Barranquitas and Río Grande. Please see these locations for specific hours)
Interested applicants must bring the following documents:
Valid I.D.
Personal income tax returns.

POSTED 11-20-17
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Hurricane Victims Get Tax Relief from the IRS

The IRS is offering help to individuals and businesses affected by the recent hurricanes in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and parts of Texas. An extension is available for disaster-area taxpayers until Jan. 31, 2018 to file any returns and pay any taxes due.

Get Tax Relief in Disaster Situations

Learn how to prepare for and recover from disasters and emergencies at USA.gov.
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations?utm_campaign=%2B%20Disasters%20and%20Emergencies&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9WANAN-KS7d3u_5TFzeNQNWTTmKTRYFw5VgQjqEKxQ9t4ugLwoNQqX6k2rR7Y5CmT-r_xSd-gBjviQtxTbOGfTX1iNAK1ZsYaXHMnUoqsRz0jjKtc&_hsmi=57483645&utm_content=57483209&utm_source=hs_email&hsCtaTracking=08f2220a-0bd4-4b2f-a54b-95cdd9bb5898%7Ce5863288-1147-4220-92dd-b391d3f5bf1f

POSTED 10-20-17
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09-26-17 [Actualización] Hospitales en servicio: #Arecibo #Bayamón #Caguas #Fajardo #Mayagüez #Ponce y #RegiónMetro #PuertoRicoSeLevanta

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09-26-17 For a directory of emergency operation centers in Puerto Rico, please click the link below.
Para el directorio de oficinas regionales para Manejos de Emergencia en Puerto Rico oprima enlace que aparece a continuación:
http://prfaa.pr.gov/…/uploa…/2017/09/Oficinas-Regionales.pdf
For a directory of emergency operation centers in Puerto Rico, please click the link below.

For the directory of regional offices for emergency management in Puerto Rico press link below:

http://prfaa.pr.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Oficinas-Regionales.pdf

09-16-17 PUERTO RICO Oficinas-Regionales

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09-24-17 PUERTO RICO – EVERYONE PLEASE SHARE!!!

The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration directed those seeking information or assistance to call 202-800-3133 or email maria1@prfaa.pr.gov.

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Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria (DR-4339)
Incident Period: September 17, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 20, 2017
Apply for Assistance

How to Find or Reunite with Loved Ones
Following events like Hurricane Maria, we understand that communications networks are not always operational. As communications are restored, there are numerous options for survivors, friends, and family members to search for loved ones. 
Survivors with internet access are encouraged to connect with friends and family members via social media platforms. Additional resources below are suggested for those both outside and inside the impacted areas.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website allows individuals to register themselves as safe or search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public, and available in English and Spanish. There are a number of ways to use this service:
Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website.
Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English.
To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health condition, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).
The American Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by texting ‘GETEMERGENCY’ to 90999.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Anyone who finds a child who may be separated from parents or caregivers, please contact the local police and enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you find an unaccompanied child, please indicate whether the child has a disability or has access and functional needs in the appropriate field in the Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you do not have access to the internet, please call 1-866-908-9570.

Information for Tourists
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has set up a hotline at 877-976-2400 for people staying at hotels.

Local Resources
The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration directed those seeking information or assistance to call 202-800-3133 or email maria1@prfaa.pr.gov.
Apply for Assistance

Registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance since the event will last several days and the full scope of damages may not be evident until the storm has passed. If you are unable to access the internet, you can also call 1-800-621-3362 (711/Video Relay Service), TTY 1-800-462-7585.

Financial Assistance
Individual Assistance – Dollars Approved
If and when individual assistance money is approved for this disaster, it will be displayed here. Information is updated every 24 hours.
Public Assistance – Dollars Approved
If and when public assistance obligated dollar information is available for this disaster, it will be displayed here. Information is updated every 24 hours.

Learn more about FEMA Disaster definitions. Last Updated: 2017-09-22 16:40
Last Updated: 2017-09-22 16:40

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09-20-17 PUERTO RICO & U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Hurricane Maria

USDA Office of Communications
Press (202) 720-9113
Consumer Inquiries (888) 674-6854
 
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by Hurricane Maria.
The National Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Maria to affect Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous major hurricane tonight and Wednesday. There is a risk in these areas for life-threatening storm surge, large and destructive waves, along with life-threatening flash floods and mudslides from heavy rainfall.
Hurricanes present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling. 
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. 
Food safety after a flood:
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener. 
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
When in doubt, throw it out.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. An infographic is also available outline steps you can take before, during and after server weather, power outages and flooding. FSIS provides relevant food safety information during disasters on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.
If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.

Last Modified Sep 19, 2017
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09-19-17 MARIA

President Donald J. Trump Signs Emergency Declaration for Puerto Rico
Release date: 
September 18, 2017
Release Number: 
HQ-17-125
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal emergency aid has been made available to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to supplement Commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by Hurricane Maria beginning on September 17, 2017 and continuing.
The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.   
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. 
Alejandro De La Campa has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations in the affected area. De La Campa said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
 
 
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FEDERAL AID PROGRAMS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO        
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Donald J. Trump’s emergency disaster declaration issued for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Assistance for the Commonwealth and affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:
FEMA is authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas. 
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding. 

 
 
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Related Content: 
Federal Aid Programs for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Last Updated: 
September 19, 2017 – 08:15
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09-19-17 IRMA

SBA Disaster Assistance Available for Businesses and Residents in Puerto Rico Affected by Hurricane Irma

The U.S. Small Business Administration has added more municipalities to the disaster declaration in Puerto Rico, affected by Hurricane Irma that began on Sept. 5, 2017.
The disaster declaration covers the municipalities of Canovanas, Culebra, Loiza y Vieques in  Puerto Rico which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.  Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Carolina, Gurabo, Juncos, Las Piedras and Rio Grande in Puerto Rico.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.
Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by mobile device at m.fema.gov.  If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov/disaster.  Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 9, 2017.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

Date: 09/18/2017 Author Information: A. Adjutant
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Sheltering and Immediate Assistance Available after Hurricane Irma
Release date:
September 14, 2017
Release Number:
HQ-17-116
WASHINGTON – In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, life, personal safety, and access to safe shelter remains a priority of local officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the entire federal family.
More than 120 government and Red Cross shelters are currently open across the affected and surrounding areas. Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for directions to open shelters, to register for assistance, for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies and disaster survival tips, and to register to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
While immediate lifesaving and life sustaining operations are the priority for FEMA and our partners, residents and business owners in designated areas who sustained damage due to Hurricane Irma, and are able to do so, should apply for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Insurance is the first line of defense against damage to your home or business after a disaster. Contact your insurance agent immediately to learn about your insurance policies and their coverage. If survivors also have National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance and suffered damage during the recent floods, they can contact their agent or call 1-800-621-3362 – select option 2 – to learn more about their policy.
Multiple immediate assistance and short-term housing options are available to support survivors in building a bridge to recovery:
FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA). Focused on sheltering as an immediate priority, FEMA is making Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) available to eligible survivors in the state of Florida, who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either uninhabitable or inaccessible. TSA provides disaster survivors with a short-term stay in a hotel or motel.
Through direct payments to lodging providers, TSA is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accommodations.
Eligible survivors can find the list of TSA-approved hotels on www.DisasterAssistance.gov, and click on the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program – Participating Hotel List link. If internet access is unavailable, the FEMA Helpline (1-800-621-3362) can assist with locating a participating property. Survivors should contact the hotel directly to secure a hotel room prior to traveling to the hotel.
Rental Assistance. Assistance through FEMA’s Individual and Households Program may be available to eligible applicants to secure temporary housing while repairs are being made to the pre-disaster primary residence, or while transitioning to permanent housing while applicant survivor is displaced from their primary residence.
Temporary Blue Roofs. The recent hurricane has left many homeowners with damaged roofs, which can take time to repair. In order to mitigate additional damage that could result from rain, homeowners can have plastic sheeting installed over the damaged area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Currently the USACE, FEMA, and local officials in disaster designated areas are conducting assessments for this program. Additional information will be available in the coming days on how to access this type of assistance, but the first step is registering with FEMA for federal assistance.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for Florida residents whose jobs were affected by Hurricane Irma, specifically those who live or work in the counties included in the major disaster declaration. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm-workers. They can apply for unemployment benefits online at Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
Disaster Distress Helpline. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) remains open 24/7 for free help coping with the stress of the storm. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be available to help repair flood-related damage to your home or business and replace personal property. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans of up to $200,000 to repair a primary residence, up to $40,000 for homeowners and renters to replace personal property, and up to $2 million to businesses and most private non-profits for physical damage and economic injury needs as a result of the disaster. Survivors need to register with FEMA first to determine their eligibility for any federal assistance that may be available.
Immediate Foreclosure Relief from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may be available for Florida and Puerto Rico residents in disaster-designated areas. HUD is granting a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages. HUD is also offering longer-term recovery assistance to survivors and impacted communities. For more information, visit HUD’s website.
There may be additional forms of immediate assistance available to survivors in declared areas to address critical needs such as water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. When survivors register for assistance they will receive referrals for the programs that may be available to them.
Survivors should register online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov. If they do not have access to the internet, they may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). If they use 711 relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362 directly. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) are on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida to help affected communities during the critical days and weeks ahead. DSATs will address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-site registration, applicant status checks, on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for accommodations for those with disabilities or access and functional needs, and referrals to partners offering additional survivor services.
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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Last Updated:
September 14, 2017 – 18:47
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09-16-17

Hurricane Victims Get Tax Relief from the IRS The IRS has just announced that victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey can get loans and hardship distributions from their 401(k) and other similar employer-sponsored retirement programs. The IRS is also relaxing procedural and administrative rules that normally apply to retirement plan loans and hardship distributions. Hardship withdrawals must be made by January 31, 2018.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations?utm_c

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09-15-16

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Enhances the Flood Claims Process and Extends Grace Period for Policy Renewals
Release date: 
September 15, 2017
Release Number: 
HQ-17-118
WASHINGTON—To support the ongoing disaster recovery, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is enhancing the flood insurance claims process, and extending the grace period for paying policy renewal premiums for insured survivors affected by Hurricane Irma.
Due to the wide-spread catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Irma, FEMA implemented temporary changes to rush recovery money into the hands of NFIP policyholders, for repair and replacement of flood-damaged properties. FEMA also wants to ensure continuous flood insurance coverage for current NFIP policyholders affected by this storm, even if the renewed policy premium cannot be paid at this time. FEMA is directing all NFIP private insurance partners to:
Provide advance payments on flood claims, even before visits by an adjuster;
Increase the advance payment allowable for policyholders who provide photographs or video depicting flood  damage and expenses, or a contractor’s itemized estimate;
Waive use of the initial Proof of Loss (POL) form; and
Extend the grace period for payment of NFIP flood insurance policy renewal premiums to 120 days. This waiver applies to all NFIP policies, whether issued by the NFIP Servicing Agent or a Write Your Own Company, written for properties in areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and counties in Florida that have received a Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance (IA) under the Stafford Act.
Advance Payments
The NFIP is making it easier for policyholders to receive an advance payment for their flood claim to help them begin the process of recovery as quickly as possible. After filing a flood insurance claim, the policyholder can discuss advance payment with the insurer:
When a policyholder contacts his/her insurer and verifies his/her identity, he/she can receive an advance payment for up to $5,000 on a flood claim without an adjuster visit or additional documentation.  When the advance payment is issued, a letter is sent to the policyholder which explains that by accepting this payment the policyholder is certifying the damage.
Up to $20,000 may be advanced to a policyholder who provides photos and/or videos depicting damage, and receipts validating out-of-pocket expenses related to flood loss or a contractor’s itemized estimate. Policyholders with significant damage who have a contractor’s itemized estimate may be eligible for a larger advance payment and should discuss this with the adjuster.
Advance payments are deducted from a policyholder’s final claim settlement amount. Advance payments may only be used according to the terms of the policy. For example, if a policyholder has a building/structure flood insurance policy, the advance payment must be used to repair or rebuild the structure. Or if a policyholder has contents coverage, the advance payment must be used to repair or replace contents that were within the structure. Advance payments may not be used for temporary housing and living expenses.
If a policyholder’s property is mortgaged, the lender will also be named on the advance payment issued for a building/structure flood insurance policy. In this case, the policyholder and lender will both be required to sign the advance payment check. 
Proof of Loss Waiver
To expedite processing of NFIP claims for Hurricane Irma, the NFIP is waiving the requirement for a policyholder to submit an initial Proof of Loss (POL) document. Here’s how the expedited process will work:
After a policyholder files a claim, a time is set up for the adjuster to inspect the flood damaged property. The adjuster will document the damage and submit a report to the policyholder’s insurance company.
If additional damage is discovered or a policyholder does not agree with the payment amount, a policyholder can seek additional payment if the policy’s coverage limits have not been met. A POL will be required to seek a supplemental payment on the claim. If payment is issued based upon the adjuster’s initial report and an additional proof of loss is not submitted by the policyholder, the insurer will close the file.
If a policyholder decides to request an additional payment, which must be done by completing a POL, the policyholder will have one year from the date of filing the initial claim to submit the request to the insurance company. FEMA has informed all of its NFIP insurance partners about this process and how it will work.  NFIP policyholders are encouraged to work closely with an adjuster on this expedited process.
Grace Period Extension for Policy Renewals
To ensure that policyholders affected by Hurricane Irma can focus on recovery and continue to have flood insurance coverage, FEMA is extending the current 30-day grace period of continual flood insurance coverage to 120 days, for policies in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that were set for renewal during the immediate response to Hurricane Irma.
Policies with an expiration date of August 7, 2017, through October 6, 2017, are eligible for the grace period extension.  Payment for those policies must be received within 120 days of the policy expiration.
The NFIP cannot pay a claim for a flood loss that occurs after a policy expiration date unless the policyholder’s insurance company receives the payment in full for renewal on or before the last day of the grace period. 
The grace period extension applies to NFIP policies covering properties in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida counties designated under the Presidential Disaster Declaration. NFIP policyholders are encouraged to contact their insurance company and report a flood claim as soon as possible.  For any policy with a renewal date on or after October 7, 2017, the normal 30-day grace period will apply.
 
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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Last Updated: 
September 15, 2017 – 12:06
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09-12-17

Over the past few weeks, thousands of workers in Texas and Louisiana have found themselves out of a job due to Hurricane Harvey.

Now, many more thousands of people in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are unemployed or unable to get to work due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

Though the program is in need of serious reform in many states, some form of Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to most workers who lose their job or cannot get to work due to a natural disaster.

NELP created this fact sheet to help these unemployed workers understand the benefits available through Disaster Unemployment Assistance, as well as how to access the program. A fact sheet NELP published last week also provides information specific to workers impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Please share this information with anyone you know who is affected by either Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey, or who is working in communities impacted by the disaster.

In unity,

National Employment Law Project

FACT SHEET: How-Workers-Access-Disaster-Unemployment-After-Hurricane-Irma

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Federal Aid Programs for The Commonwealth Of Puerto Rico
Release date:
September 10, 2017
Release Number:
HQ-17-105-FactSheet

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Donald J. Trump’s disaster declaration issued for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, municipality and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the Commonwealth.)
Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for Commonwealth benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; Commonwealth administered.)
Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.

How to Apply for Assistance:

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov/es or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Assistance for the Commonwealth and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health. Emergency protective measures assistance, including direct federal assistance is available to Commonwealth and local governments on a cost-sharing basis (Source: FEMA funded, Commonwealth administered.)
Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, Commonwealth administered.)
Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by the Commonwealth to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters. (Source: FEMA funded, Commonwealth administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

Application procedures for the Commonwealth and eligible local governments will be explained at a series of applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the Commonwealth from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

# # #
Related Content:
President Donald J. Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico

Last Updated:
September 10, 2017 – 13:19
State/Tribal Government or Region:
Puerto Rico
Related Disaster(s):
4336
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09-06-17 Puerto Rico 09-06-17 Hurricane Irma Emergency Numbers

ADDITIONAL ADA INFORMATION FOR VIRGIN ISLANDS AND PUERTO RICO:

09-06-17 ADA VIRGIN ISLANDS AND PUERTO RICO INFORMATION

Northeast ADA Center Weekly eBlast:

Below are resources to consult, if you’ve been affected by Hurricane Irma. We will send out the Spanish language version of this soon.

The U.S. Virgin Islands:

* For updates from FEMA, follow FEMA Region II at https://www.fema.gov/region-ii-nj-ny-pr-vi-0
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion2

* U.S. Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency: www.vitema.gov
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/readyusvi
VITEMA Headquarters: 8221 Estate Nisky, St. Thomas, VI 00803; phone: (340) 774-2244; fax: (304) 715-6847
* St. Croix Office: 102 Hermon Hill, St. Croix, VI 00820; phone: (340) 773-2244; fax: (304) 778-8980
* St. John Office: 6 Susannaberg, St. John, VI 00830; phone: (340) 776-6444; fax: (304) 714-4470
* U.S. Virgin Islands Red Cross
* USVI Red Cross: 6035 Castle Coakley, Christiansted, 00820 St. Croix, VI
* 4000 Queen Mary Hwy, Christiansted, 00820, VI; phone: 340-778-5104

Puerto Rico:

* For updates from FEMA, follow FEMA Region II at https://www.fema.gov/region-ii-nj-ny-pr-vi-0
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion2
; as well as FEMA en español at https://www.fema.gov/es
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FEMAespanol

* Shelter sites in Puerto Rico: http://www2.pr.gov/…/ae…/PortalEducativo/Pages/Refugios.aspx

* Puerto Rico Red Cross
* American Red Cross Building Puerto Rico Chapter: Medical Center Facilities , José Celso Barbosa Street , Río Piedras, PR 00935
* phone: (787) 758-8150

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Federal Aid Programs for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Emergency Declaration
Release date:
September 5, 2017
Release Number:
HQ-17-086-FactSheet

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Donald J. Trump’s emergency disaster declaration issued for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Assistance for the Commonwealth and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

FEMA is authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide debris removal (Category A) and emergency protective measures (Category B), including to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.

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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Related Content:
President Donald J. Trump Signs Emergency Declaration for Puerto Rico
Last Updated:
September 5, 2017 – 22:37
State/Tribal Government or Region:
Puerto Rico
Related Disaster(s):
3384

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Formidable Footprint – A Community / Neighborhood Exercise

Description The Formidable Footprint exercise series has been developed in accordance with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) protocols. The objective of the exercise series is for CERTs, Neighborhood Watch Programs, Neighborhood Associations, Community / Faith Based Organizations, Citizen Corps, Fire Corps and others to work as a team to become better prepared for the next disaster their community may face. There is NO CHARGE for participation in any of the Formidable Footprint exercises. For additional information or to register for up-coming exercises please access the following web site today: www.FormidableFootprint.org

This is a Virtual Event –

Contact Information (Name / Phone / Weblink) Chris Floyd / 850-241-3565 / chrisfloyd@drc-group.com

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WE LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING OTHERS!!

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