By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
In the first hours, more than a dozen residents of Logan sought the assistance of FEMA officials at the temporary disaster recovery center.
“The staff here were very helpful and nice,” said Robert Simpson, whose house was damaged from the tornado. “They had answers to a lot of the questions that I had.”
“I speak mostly Spanish so it was nice to have the translator there,” said Ponciano Sanchez, whose home also was damaged.
The center was set up and opened on Monday for residents of Logan to apply for financial assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency for the damages done by the March 23 tornado.
“Everyone can come in and apply or ask questions about applying for FEMA assistance,” said Brad Craine, FEMA spokesman. “We will be here as long as people need our services. We also have bilingual personnel available if needed.”
Residents signed in at the front desk where they were presented their identification and residence information. If a resident had already made a claim through FEMA, they could speak with a representative about their claim right away. If the resident had not made a claim with FEMA they were able to use the phone system at the center.
“If you have already talked with FEMA officials you can come in with your application number and check on the status of your request,” said Craine. “ There is also a TTY machine available for the hearing impaired.”
“The phone system was very easy to use,” said Angie Chavez who had not applied for FEMA assistance until coming into the center. “The questions I was asked on the phone and in person were very precise and clear. I don’t know if I will get any help but its best to apply and find out.”
In an effort to reach everyone who as affected by the tornado, FEMA officials also are going door to door to let people know about the center and its purpose.
“Don’t sell yourself short by thinking your damage is not enough to claim,” said Craine. “Each FEMA claim is done on a case-by-case basis. When you make a claim, a FEMA inspector will come out to inspect the damage and even if you have already cleaned up the debris they can still identify what damage was done.”
“They came out to my home and looked at the damage done to it and my vehicle,” said Jim Chavez. “They told me to come down to the center and talk to the people at the center. The service was very good and I think they are going to help me.”
“It doesn’t matter if you are a home owner, renter or business owner, you may be eligible for assistance,” said Craine. “This is not a hand out, this is money that is made available to you from taxes.”
Also available at the center is information and services from the Small Business Administration.
“The SBA offers a loan that can help where we leave off,” said Craine. “So when people receive the SBA loan packet with our paper work, don’t throw it away. Fill it out — you may be available for one of their low interest rate loans.”
The center is at 103 South Sixth St., Logan. It will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.