FEMA Urges Vermonters To Apply For Assistance Soon

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(Host) Federal disaster officials are trying to get the word out that Vermonters affected by flooding should register with Federal Emergency Management Administration as soon as possible.

VPR’s Patti Daniels reports:

(Daniels) The registration deadline for assistance from FEMA and the Small Business Administration is October 31st.  That’s six weeks away, but FEMA representative Billy Penn says, don’t wait:

(Penn) "We prefer they get into the system early so that we can begin working the program for them.  Later on, they can decide whether they want to take the help. They don’t have to make that decision when they register."

(Daniels) Penn says people sometimes don’t register for FEMA help because they think they won’t qualify for aid, or because they see people who were hit harder in the storm.

This woman in East Middlebury falls into that category:

(Kate) "Coming home to a home that was still standing, I was so grateful. And when I saw the scope and the extent of damage that had taken place in other parts of the state, I was really hesitant to make a claim."

(Daniels) Kate lost a boiler and hot water heater in her flooded basement. She called into VPR’s Vermont Edition on Thursday to encourage others to call FEMA:

(Kate) "My friends and neighbors encouraged me to do so. I finally did Wednesday, there was an inspector here by Sunday and by yesterday there was money in my account. (Crying) I just wanted to say thank you so much. It means so much."

(Daniels) Kate’s is among the 4,400 Vermont households that have registered with FEMA since Tropical Storm Irene. Penn says he can’t guess how many more will register. But he says that if you suffered any damage or loss in Irene, it’s worth it to make the call.

For VPR News, I’m Patti Daniels.

(Host) The deadline for FEMA registration is October 31st. You can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA, or go online to fema.gov and click "apply for assistance."

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