Hurricane Ida created storm surge, flooding and tornadoes that impacted thousands of people across the country. If you or a loved one are in an affected area from major storms this year, follow these tips to return home, stay safe and get assistance where you need it.
- Stay safe when cleaning up and returning home. If local authorities approved your return home, follow warnings on your route or at home. Be careful around debris or damaged buildings. Don’t walk or drive through flood waters. Follow the CDC’s advice to stay safe during clean-up.
- Protect yourself from disaster scams. Unfortunately, after a disaster, scammers try to take advantage of those in need and others donating money and time in support. Explore the latest rumors FEMA and the State of Louisiana have flagged after last week’s storm. Stay on guard for false promises, government imposters and assistance application fees with tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To report fraud, call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721.
- Apply for the help you need. Many assistance programs related to housing, food and businesses are funded after a significant storm. Other year-round programs exist to support those in need. Help is available for:
- Home reconstruction: The Disaster Home Reconstruction Mortgage Program can help you rebuild or buy a new home if you lost it during a disaster.
- Housing and rental support: In some cases, FEMA can help rent a temporary place or reimburse hotel expenses for short periods of time. Understand what FEMA covers and does not cover in an emergency. If you need more help, explore rental assistance programs in your state.
- Food assistance: If your area is covered by an emergency declaration, you may be able to get help with food under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP). Contact your state or local SNAP office for more details.
- Small businesses and homeowners: The Small Business Administration offers low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters in areas covered by emergency declarations. Check your state’s disaster declaration to see your eligibility and apply now.
- Support your mental health. If you or a loved one is going through a crisis caused by man-made or natural disasters, call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Access toll-free and confidential crisis support, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 1-800-985-5990.
- Plan now for any future storms. Natural disasters don’t wait for a convenient time. Prepare your home, family and community with Ready.gov. Review checklists of what to do before, during and after different types of emergency situations, like create an emergency plan and sign up for official alerts.