Disaster recovery aid now available at Corinth arena

CORINTH – Victims of this month’s deadly storms are making their way to Corinth’s Disaster Recovery Center at Crossroads Arena as they try to get their lives back on track.
As of midafternoon Monday, at least 100 people had been to the center, which opened Saturday to help those affected by the May 1-2 tornadoes and flooding that led to six deaths across Northeast Mississippi.
The center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all who sustained any kind of damage from the May 1-2 storms needs to file a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, no matter what the loss.
“This joint disaster recovery center is open indefinitely,” FEMA spokeswoman Renee Bafalis said. “We have community relations teams out canvassing door to door talking to residents affected by the storm.”
The teams, she said, are in communities that have been declared disaster areas – Alcorn, Benton, Lafayette, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo counties. The state, FEMA and Small Business Administration are working together to meet the needs, she said.
People are surprised that the Small Business Administration has help for individuals, spokesman Mark Randle told Alcorn County supervisors Monday. The agency offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for damaged private property for homeowners and renters, as well as recovery help for businesses.
“People don’t want to think about taking on any debt, but it’s best to go through the process and get approval and not need it than to find out later you need it and not have it,” he said.
Applications for disaster assistance must be submitted within 60 days of the disaster declaration, Randle said.
All applications must begin through FEMA with a phone call to (800) 621-FEMA, or at the agency website at www.disasterassistance.gov. After opening a preliminary file workers at the disaster center will help with any further needs.
The Corinth site includes FEMA individual assistance, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, FEMA mitigation services with information to prevent future disasters, as well as SBA staff, said spokesman Walter Alleyne.
“If they need inspections at their homes, help with filling out forms and other kinds of assistance, we will be able to help them,” Bafalis said.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal