New Orleans-based disaster-recovery nonprofit SBP has released an 11-page guide to help flood victims navigate FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s low-interest loan programs.
The guide includes tips, checklists, a flow chart of what applications to file when, the basics of each program as well as the important notes that lurk in the fine print. It also covers the appeals procedures and other resources disaster victims have at their disposal.
Zack Rosenburg, SBP’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said that while it’s understandable for disaster victims to get discouraged by the complexity of the process or by reports of low payouts in FEMA's individual assistance grant program, it’s crucial they understand a counterintuitive point about federal disaster aid: rejection is baked into process.
Being told you don’t qualify for one program is what makes you eligible for another, and applying for all programs is key to ultimately getting the aid you’re entitled to.
SBP, formerly known as the St. Bernard Project, started after Hurricane Katrina and now works in several states rebuilding homes and working with other recovery groups on its mission to shorten the time between disaster and recovery.