Tag Archives: disaster

The latest FEMA information regarding the Dec. 2021 storms

Earlier this week FEMA shared some updated messaging regarding applying for assistance, what types of assistance FEMA offers, deadlines to apply, and information on applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans. For questions regarding this information, please visit fema.gov/disaster/4637.

These updates are accurate as of Feb. 17.

Latest news:

One Month Left to Apply for FEMA Assistance
Since the devestating December 2021 storms, more than $4.4 million in federal funds has been provided to residents to assist in their recovery. Survivors who still need to apply for FEMA assistance have until March 15, 2022, to do so.

Funding is available to residents in Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Stewart, Sumner, Weakley, and Wilson counties.

Applying for FEMA assistance is free and easy. To start your claim, use any of the following options:

  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Use the FEMA app, which can be easily downloaded to a smartphone.
  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Specialists are available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Multilingual services are available.
  • If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others:
    • Update the “Current Phone” field using the relay service phone number
    • Add “Relay Service” to the Note box; provide FEMA with your number.

FEMA Housing Inspections
FEMA Housing Inspectors will make an appointment before visiting your property to assess damage. The inspector may call and confirm the last four digits of your FEMA application number and then schedule an appointment seven to 10 days from the date your initial application is submitted.

Over the past month, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams have gone door-to-door in the 12 declared counties, interacting with 2,061 individuals to help them apply for assistance and to provide referrals to other resources.

NOTE: Apply Even If You Have Insurance
If your personal property or primary residence was damaged when a line of tornadoes touched down in middle and west Tennessee in December, consider applying for FEMA assistance even if you have insurance. Don’t wait until after you receive your insurance settlement to apply. First, file your insurance claim, then apply for FEMA. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits, but once you are in the agency’s application system, you can submit documentation on your insurance settlement or claim denial when you receive it, and any uncovered damages will be considered.

For nonprofits: FEMA continues to support state and local leaders to provide Public Assistance funding for storm-related emergency response and the restoration of infrastructure, damaged public facilities and certain private nonprofits, like houses of worship. To learn more, go to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency “Active Disasters” page, and click on FEMA-4637.

Read the full FEMA press release here.

What FEMA Individual Assistance Does and Does Not Cover

Under a recently signed Major Disaster Declaration, homeowners and renters in Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Stewart, Sumner, Weakley and Wilson counties whose primary residence and/or personal property was damaged or destroyed by the December

What is not eligible?

FEMA does not offer housing assistance for secondary homes; you may only receive FEMA assistance for disaster damage to your primary residence. Additionally, FEMA does not provide assistance to small businesses. Our partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offers low interest disaster loans for that. Business owners, renters and homeowners may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunication relay services), or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Disaster loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.

What FEMA may cover

Tornado survivors in middle and west Tennessee are eligible to apply for grants that cover temporary housing, repairs and other uninsured or underinsured losses. However, those who still have questions can speak with a FEMA representative at 800-621-3362 to learn how the agency can assist with their disaster recovery. Here is an abbreviated list of assistance available:

Temporary Housing Assistance: Funds for temporary housing, such as rental assistance or reimbursement for hotel costs, while you are unable to live in your home due to extreme tornado damage.

Lodging Expenses Reimbursement: Reimbursement of hotel expenses for homeowners or renters for short periods of time because they can’t access their disaster-damaged primary residence, or a utility outage makes the home unlivable.

Home Repair or Replacement: FEMA may assist with the replacement of, or repairs to, a disaster-damaged primary residence in certain circumstances. This assistance is not intended to restore your home to its pre-disaster condition. Instead, grants cover uninsured essentials like doors, windows, a roof, critical utilities, toilets and other necessities. The homeowner may apply for an SBA disaster loan to help with additional repairs beyond what FEMA may provide.
FEMA may also consider funding for hazard mitigation measures, such as roof, furnace, water heater, or main electrical panel mitigation, to help reduce the amount of damage to the home in future disasters, if those items

Other needs:
Financial assistance is available for necessary expenses and serious needs directly caused by the disaster, including:

  • Child-care expenses
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Damage to essential household items; tools required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, schoolbooks, supplies)
  • Fuel for the primary heat source (heating oil, gas)
  • Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier)
  • Damage to an essential vehicle
  • Moving and storage expenses caused by the disaster. This is moving and storage of essential household goods to prevent further damage, such as ongoing repairs, and returning property to the applicant’s primary residence.
  • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA

Everyone Has the Right to Appeal a FEMA Determination
If you receive a determination letter advising you are ineligible for assistance or that your application is incomplete, do not be frustrated or discouraged. Instead, just read the entire letter to find out what’s needed for FEMA to continue processing your application. Many times, it’s a simple fix. You have 60 days from the date on your FEMA decision letter to submit a written appeal and supporting documentation.

Key messages:

Tennessee Tornado Survivors: Avoid Contractor Fraud

  • Disasters often bring communities together but con artists, identity thieves and other criminals may target survivors working to rebuild after last December’s severe weather and tornadoes. The most common types of post-disaster fraud include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, fake offers of municipal or federal aid and charging for free services.
    • If you need help day or night, call the local police and the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

Major Disaster Declaration Amended to Include FEMA Public Assistance

  • Thirteen Tennessee counties are now eligible to receive FEMA Public Assistance reimbursement funds to help communities repair and replace damaged infrastructure, public buildings and some facilities operated by private nonprofits, such as houses of worship. The PA declared counties are Cheatham, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Stewart, Sumner, and Weakley.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans

What is a SBA loan? The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.

  • There is no cost to apply for a SBA disaster loan, or to accept the loan if approved. However, if FEMA refers you to SBA, you must apply before you can be considered for certain kinds of FEMA grant money. If you are not approved for a loan, FEMA may be able to provide grants to cover disaster related expenses for personal property, vehicle repair or replacement and/or moving and storage feed.
  • Homeowners may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $200,000 for primary residence structural repairs or rebuilding. SBA may also be able to help homeowners and renters with up to $40,000 to replace important personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
  • Businesses and nonprofit organizations may be eligible to borrow up to $2 million for repair costs and disaster related working capital needs.


Read the full press release by FEMA here.

For more information on Tennessee’s disaster recovery, visit www.tn.gov/tema.html and www.fema.gov/disaster/4637. You may also follow FEMA on www.facebook.com/fema and Twitter @FEMARegion4.

Volunteers assist in repairing a flood damaged home in Nashville.

Flood survivors need volunteers like you to help on their path to recovery

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Connect with survivors who may still need support: Small groups of volunteers will canvass flood-affected neighborhoods on Nov. 12. We especially need Spanish speakers to ensure we can connect with as many families as possible! 

2. Rebuild homes with Inspiritus: Volunteers will help residents rebuild homes impacted by the flood. Activities range from painting, flooding, installing drywall and insulation. Training is provided with on-site leadership.

3. Use your skills or form a group to help with the rebuilding effort: As recovery and rebuilding continues we need skilled construction volunteers as well as groups of volunteers who can help with demolition, construction, and community outreach.





It’s National Preparedness Month. Do you have a plan?

As we’ve learned from the March 2020 tornado, COVID-19 pandemic, March 2021 flooding, and hurricane warning earlier this month — disasters can strike unexpectedly.

There’s no better time than the present to prepare to protect, and keep you and your family safe during a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. This year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using its public service campaign, Ready, to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to promote preparedness through public involvement.

This year, Ready is promoting four key ways to be prepared:

(1)  Stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses

(2)  make a family emergency plan and

(3)  build an emergency supply kit, and

(4)  get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies.

There’s some easy, low cost ways to prepare for a disaster:

Start today by signing up for alerts, safe-guarding important documents, and taking other low cost and no cost preparedness actions to lessen the impact of disasters and emergencies for you and your family.

It’s also important to teach your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

There’s also many ways you can get involved before an emergency or a disaster occurs, by joining a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and getting trained on basic disaster response skills, taking FEMA disaster response classes such as You Are the Help Until Help Arrives, donating money to a reputable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), and volunteer to respond to disasters and help your fellow Americans.

For a full list of how you can get involved, click here.

Don’t forget to share your preparedness prep with us! We would love if you shared your kits, how you’re making a plan, or any other helpful information others should know with us by tagging us on social media @HONashville, and using the Ready hashtags, #BeReady and #PrepareToProtect!

In it for the long haul: The Davidson County Long-Term Recovery Group focuses on getting resources to survivors

Several members of the Davidson County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) — of which Hands On Nashville is a part — reflect on the recovery efforts since the March 2020 tornadoes that devastated many of Nashville’s iconic neighborhoods.

In the video above, several representatives of the LTRG share their stories and updates on how recovery is going: Kathy Floyd-Buggs, Director of Neighborhoods for the Nashville Mayor’s Office; Keith Branson, Executive Director of Westminster Home Connection; Tina Doniger, Executive Director of Community Resource Center; Amy Fair, Vice President of Donor Services at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; Alisha Smith Haddock, Community-Based Services Director at Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Eileen Lowery, Director of Tornado Recovery Connection at Tn Conference of UMCOR; and Lori Shinton, Executive Director of Hands On Nashville.

Finding and serving tornado survivors — in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and economic crisis, no less — remains the laser-like focus of the LTRG.

The LTRG is a volunteer collaboration of multiple organizations, including but not limited to nonprofit agencies, community civic and service groups, faith-based, and educational groups that meet and work together to address the long-term needs of Metro Nashville residents who have been affected by disaster.

As detailed in its bylaws, the LTRG’s mission is to provide coordinated management of the long-term recovery response to individuals in Nashville/Davidson County affected by disaster.

The LTRG offers additional long-term assistance to individuals affected by the disaster who do not have adequate personal resources, and stewards volunteer, material and financial resources.

Its goal is to provide cost-effective and coordinated delivery of services so that survivors receive unduplicated assistance in a timely, efficient and equitable manner.

With more than 80 individuals representing 30 organizations participating on regularly scheduled calls, the group has, to date:

• Identified the areas of greatest need

• Identified organizations capable of addressing those needs

• Worked to ensure it is supporting each organization’s services while providing support to survivors from all of the impacted areas in Nashville

Learn more at www.nashvillerelief.com.

‘You always have something you can do,’ says volunteer who logged hundreds of hours of tornado relief activities

When the tornadoes hit, Melissa Alexander wasted no time finding a volunteer project to help survivors.

That’s who Melissa is, though — she goes above and beyond for people, and doesn’t seem to think twice about it. That makes her among the most prolific tornado-response volunteers in HON.org’s database, having registered for dozens of projects and logged hundreds of volunteer hours.

“After the tornado hit, I knew I couldn’t just stay home,” she says. “I’m from Texas, and that’s just not what you do there. After a disaster, if someone needs your help, you just go.”

Melissa Alexander, left, spent more than 300 hours volunteering in response to the 2020 tornadoes.

Melissa lives in Hermitage, about a block away from the path of destruction that spanned more than 60 miles overnight on March 2, 2020. She was without power for four days, and, looking back, is grateful to have had the opportunity to get out of the house and be of service to others.

She began volunteering at the Hermitage Community Center, sorting donations of apples, oranges, and other food and essentials. After about a week, when the center was running smoothly, she began looking for other ways to help. She had already attended volunteer leadership training at the Hands On Nashville headquarters. A liaison from Mayor John Cooper’s office determined she would be a great fit to begin supporting case management by alerting survivors to the resources that were available.

Melissa began canvassing the Hermitage area daily, going door to door to ask residents a series of questions:

“Are you working with a good contractor? Are they licensed?”

“Do you have your tetanus shot?”

“Do you know how to get to the community center?”

“Do you have your water and power turned on?”

It was more or less what she had been trained for, Melissa says, and she enjoyed the spark of hope residents would show when she was able to share information on a resource they were previously unaware of.

“‘They would ask, ‘Who are you with?’” and I would say, ‘Oh, I’m just a volunteer with Hands On Nashville, going around to make sure you’re aware of all of the services available in the community after a tornado.’ They loved it,” she says. “They were so grateful that somebody was just coming around and checking in on them.”

Melissa volunteered for weeks this way, reporting each morning to the city’s liaison, receiving her neighborhood assignments, then heading out with her bags of apples and oranges to distribute throughout the community. She estimates she spent more than 300 hours volunteering over the course of three months.

One day in particular stands out to Melissa — the day she was reassigned to North Nashville, on March 27. Rain was moving into the area, and the city needed additional help identifying houses that needed tarps.

“I went to Project Connect Nashville and started volunteering over there, four days a week, for about three months,” she says. “I’m still pretty committed to Project Connect. They do a lot for that North Nashville community.”

Once in North Nashville, Melissa says she found strength in the community to keep coming back day after day. The work was tiring, but, without fail, each morning when she arrived, there would be 30 people waiting outside Project Connect’s doors for a hot meal.

“When you see that many people waiting to get a hot meal, you can’t just say no,” Melissa says. “And the people were so eager for help. They wanted to know what resources were available or how to do something.”

Melissa Alexander and Mary.
Melissa (left) with Mary.

And that’s how Melissa met Mary.

“She’s the lady who made me cry on my first day,” Melissa says. “A neighbor had called to bring her meals, and I was the first one to have checked up on her since the storm. That day she was upset because her FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) request was denied, and she just bawled.”

Melissa bonded with Mary, who is 83 years old, right away. She worked to get Mary’s phone back in service, reinstall her security light, and create some raised garden beds for her. They still talk or text regularly.

“I even helped her organize the inside of her house, and we shredded papers for three days,” Melissa says. “She kept everything. She had checkbooks from the ’80s. So I helped her shred papers, and it was so fun. Older people have the best stories.”

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns, Melissa continued to work with Project Connect. She’s an avid mask-wearer, and says she practiced good hygiene long before the pandemic, crediting her work as a behavioral analyst who often worked with clients with auto-immune disorders. She says the Red Cross and Project Connect were thorough with their protocols, and that she never felt unsafe while volunteering.

Call the Tornado Recovery Connection at 615-270-9255 to get help.

Melissa’s background has proved invaluable throughout her time volunteering. Being from Texas, she was familiar with disaster response and FEMA, and by working with lower-income families she’s also familiar with food-assistance and housing programs. As Project Connect transitioned their services to working mainly from the resource center, Melissa jokes that she became known as the “resource guru.” To this day she has about 60 bookmarks — in multiple languages — stored in her phone to offer to people for help.

“You always have a skill,” she says, “and you always have something you can do that goes toward something that someone else needs.”

And while the recovery process has spanned the past year, Melissa knows there’s still more recovery and healing that needs to happen.

“There’s so many houses still not touched,” she says. “You can drive through Hermitage now and see the changes. But in North, there’s still boards on the windows, tarps on the roofs. There’s still so much work to be done.”

Tornado survivors can get access to a variety of resources and support through the Tornado Recovery Connection. If you know any tornado survivors, please make sure they know to call TRC at 615-270-9255.

UT survey seeks to gauge stress from the tornado, other factors

Hands On Nashville is proud to partner with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to share a survey with Nashvillians that will gauge how they’re dealing with multiple forms of stress. The university’s Jennifer First and Mary Held are working to understand how dealing with compounding stressors affects emotional health, including resilience that helps people cope. 

The hope is that the data collected from the survey will help agencies provide better services for Nashville residents affected by multiple forms of stress, including the March 2020 tornados, COVID-19, and daily stressors. The survey does not ask for any names or any identifying information from participants. 

Participants are invited to fill out the survey if they: 

  • Are at least 18 years old 
  • Lived in Nashville during the March 2020 tornadoes 
  • Speak English or Spanish 

Nashville Tornado Relief Efforts: Things to Know

In this post, we will be updating information as it becomes available. To view our list of resources, click here. If you are looking to volunteer or donate to a disaster relief cause, click here. To view updated recommendations regarding volunteering and COVID-19, click here

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25

Tornado Debris Collection Update from Metropolitan Nashville Department of Public Works:
MNDPW is temporarily pausing debris pick-up in tornado impacted areas for 2 weeks. The city would like to give residents in these areas an opportunity to get debris onto the curb, and will resume pickup on April 6, 2020. At that time, they will resume regular circulation through all impacted areas in an effort to remove all curbside tornado debris.

Regular brush pick up will continue as scheduled.
Don’t forget to follow the Tornado Debris Guidelines, available at http://bit.ly/DebrisGuidelines.

10:47 a.m. Thursday, March 19

The Red Cross is experiencing severe blood shortages right now due to canceled blood drives across the country. If you are able to donate blood, you can fulfill a critical need felt by our neighbors. Click here to learn more about the need and the measures the Red Cross is taking to protect donors from COVID-19 exposure. Then click here to schedule an appointment.

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

Hands On Nashville extends our thanks to hubNashville and more than a dozen local roofing professionals for their collaboration this past week in which more than 45 roofs were tarped by volunteers in response to the devastating March 3 tornado.

As of today, hubNashville and HON are no longer accepting requests for volunteer roof tarping.

hubNashville is available year-round, and is a one-stop shop to request Metro Nashville Davidson County services and information, available by calling 311, visiting hub.nashville.gov, or through the hubNashville 311 app.

Special thanks to:
Mr. Roof Nashville
Above All Roofing TN
Brothers In Business
A-Team Roofing
Reach Out WorldWide
Integrity Home Inspections
Roof It Forward
Centennial Services Roofing
Rhythm Roofing

1:58 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

The HON team continues to make adjustments to volunteer projects and recommendations in light of the rapidly shifting nature of COVID-19. Click here to read the latest.

Continue reading Nashville Tornado Relief Efforts: Things to Know

PUBLIC ALERT: Tornado Recovery Volunteer Park-and-Ride Shuttles

This following is a press release from the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Metro Nashville is asking for recovery volunteers to help keep damaged neighborhoods accessible to first responders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (March 7, 2020) Please, first responders and repair crews need your help.

Continued traffic congestion in the most heavily impacted areas of Nashville will hamper the continued recovery process for those dealing with the most damage.

The Nashville Office of Emergency Management in partnership with Metro Nashville Police and Metro Nashville Public Schools is launching a park-and-ride service on March 8 for tornado recovery volunteers to help them reach the areas of greatest need in North Nashville and East Nashville.

Tornado recovery volunteers should plan to park at Nissan Stadium located at 1 Titans Way, Nashville, TN 37213.

Independent volunteers should park in Lot “R” of Nissan Stadium. Lot “R” is designated as the two parking lots at the bottom of the pedestrian bridge next to Nissan Stadium.

Volunteers working with Hands on Nashville should continue to use parking lots G, M, A, B and D based on where their opportunity states.

Shuttles will transport tornado recovery volunteers from Lot “R” to the areas of greatest need beginning at 9:00 am and shuttles will run continuously until 6:00 pm.

Shuttles will drop off tornado recovery volunteers at the following locations:

 

North Nashville:

21st Avenue North and Scovel Street 14th Avenue North and Cockrill Street

East Nashville:

Fatherland Street and 11th Street 16th Street and Russell Street.

Volunteers working with Hands on Nashville should continue to use parking lots G, M, A, B and D.

Due to the debris in areas of Nashville, private vehicles will not be allowed to access certain neighborhoods.

Shuttles will transport volunteers into these areas that are inaccessible to the general public.

The number of private vehicles in the most impacted areas of the city has hampered entry for large commercial vehicles including Metro Nashville Public Works trucks, Metro Nashville Water Services crews and NES repair trucks.

Motorists should look for electronic message boards as they approach Nissan Stadium for directions to parking lot “R”.

Metro’s Community Hotline will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling (615) 862-8750 for all non-emergency, weather-related inquiries, the reporting of hazards and to request assistance. In case of an emergency, residents should call 911.

The NERVE (Nashville Emergency Response Viewing Engine) has been activated in coordination with this EOC activation. This site will provide information about storm related road closures, any evacuation areas or routes, shelters and relief centers. This also includes a media tab with a Twitter feed and press releases.

Volunteers signed up for the following projects should meet at Nissan Stadium to catch a shuttle to their project location:

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