FEMA ready to help storm victims in Knox County

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email

Apply for FEMA aid

  • First, file with your insurance company if you have one.
  • Call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA.
  • You can also apply online by clicking here.
  • If you need assistance, visit a disaster recovery center.

FEMA/TEMA Disaster Recovery Center Knoxville
South Knoxville Optimist Club Building
6101 Moore Road

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Are you still dealing with damage from April's hail storm? Federal help for victims is on the ground in Knoxville.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a disaster recovery center Thursday in South Knoxville.

Joseph Doyle and his wife huddled inside during the April hail storm.

"We got in the middle of the house. Then we heard the window crack. Not much you can do except pray that you don't get hurt," said Doyle, who lives in South Knoxville.

Thankfully, they were okay, but their house was not so lucky. "I've got some roof damage and I've got a skylight out, and a window damaged that I've already replaced, and siding damage," he said.

What he doesn't have is insurance. That's why Volunteer TV found him here at FEMA's Knox County disaster recovery center.

The site at the South Knox Optimist Club Building in Gary Underwood Park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

FEMA representatives are there to help you understand assistance programs and apply.

Renters, homeowners and business owners are encouraged to register with FEMA.

Federal grants and loans aren't a replacement for insurance, but can help you pay for losses not covered. FEMA says even those without comprehensive car coverage who suffered damage should apply. Impacted businesses can also apply for low interest, small business loans.

You don't have to go there, you can also apply by phone or online.

To get the aid you need to do a few things: First, file a claim with your insurance company if you have one.

Then call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA or visit their website by clicking on the link above to be added to their assistance database. You should do this prior to visiting a disaster center. Phones are also available at Disaster Recovery Centers.

You'll also need to give FEMA this important information to get relief: your social security number, insurance policy number and the property address.

FEMA says renters and homeowners may also receive a U.S. Small Business Administration application. You should complete that as well.

More than 100 people in Knox County have already registered. They join more than 5,575 individuals registered in the 17 disaster-declared counties in East Tennessee. FEMA has granted $4.2 million so far.

"Without insurance, I was hoping I would have a little help with it," he said.

"If you have any damage whatsoever, don't prejudge what you may receive from FEMA," said Susan Solomon, a spokesperson for FEMA.

FEMA officials encourage everyone to apply by phone or online -- even if car damage is your only worry. You can earn assistance grants, or even loans through the SBA.

"I know our name, Small Business Administration, makes you just think businesses, but we're there to assist homeowners and renters also," said Debra Freeland, a public affairs specialist with SBA Disaster Assistance.

SBA is awarding loans up to $200,000 for homeowners and up to $40,000 for renters for replacements and repairs.

"It is used to help you get back on your feet, but not to make whole," said Solomon.

Doyle says every dollar will make it easier. "They're going to help out a lot."

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