With damage estimates hovering between $30 and $50 billion, Sandy has certainly taken its toll on home inspectors along the east coast. There is help on the way. These organizations can help inspectors and their families get back on their feet fast.
* The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
If you have damage to your own home, trouble getting supplies or other disaster-related issues, FEMA is a good ally to have on your side. Recently the organization injected $210 million into Sandy relief efforts, meaning that help is on the way. In addition to providing their own help, FEMA also helps connect those in need with local groups and charity organizations for aid. Information on programs in your area is available at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-FEMA.
* The Small Business Association
The SBA is a godsend for business owners in need. Their disaster loan program offering low-interest financing for large and small business owners, home owners, renters and nonprofit organizations to cover business assets and property that were destroyed by the storm. Qualified businesses and nonprofit groups can borrow up to $2 million to cover real estate, machinery and inventory taken by Sandy. The SBA also coordinates with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to provide information on contracting opportunities.
* Your state’s unemployment office
Most self-employed workers aren’t eligible for typical unemployment insurance, but you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Designed for any worker who can’t perform their job due to disaster-related conditions, DUA benefits are available to areas that the President has declared an official disaster zone. For now, these include specific counties in Virginia, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts. DUA Benefits are usually available for up to 26 weeks after a natural disaster but certain states extend benefits longer. How much aid is available and how those funds get distributed is decided on a state by state basis. Contract your state’s employment office—a full list is available right over here—to find out what you’re eligible for.
* National Disaster Legal Aid
If you run into problems with insurance claims, mortgage lenders, landlords or anyone else, this organization is here to help. The NDLA maintains an awesome list of legal resources for affected states and a separate list for New Yorkers.