(KPTV) - After weeks of uncertainty, heartbreak and gut-wrenching disaster, wildfire damage assessments and cleanup are beginning as thousands of Oregonians try to move forward and rebuild.
“This a disaster in which some people’s lives will never be the same,” said FEMA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough in an interview with FOX 12 on Sunday.
Kimbrough said the agency is committed to helping fire victims every step of the way.
So far, FEMA has approved more than $11 million in assistance to roughly 1,700 people across eight of Oregon’s counties impacted by the fires.
Working with county partners, FEMA has set up community centers where Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams can help victims apply for financial help.
A resource center at the Molalla River School District community gym is expected to be serving people through the rest of this upcoming week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those affected in Marion County can go to Anthony Hall in Sublimity from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Right now, there’s still a great amount of need at the front end of this recovery process – people who need help getting back into their homes, maybe making repairs or maybe making a plan because they no longer have a home,” Kimbrough said.
If you’ve been impacted by the fires in any way – from losing your home to losing wages due to closures, Kimbrough said the sooner you apply for help, the better.
“We may need to come back and get more information from you, especially if you weren’t back in your home at the time you submitted an application,” Kimbrough said.
You can apply online, by phone or on FEMA’s mobile app. If you have questions, or need help, go to your nearest FEMA pop-up center -- your county should be able to direct you to the location and hours.
For more information on how to apply for wildlife disaster related assistance, here’s more information from FEMA:
We encourage people to apply as soon as possible either by phone at 800-621-3362, by the FEMA app, or online at www.disasterassistance.gov Do not wait for a fixed location to apply for assistance.
If you have been able to return to home, documentation of any losses will help FEMA process your application. Save your receipts and take photos before you begin the clean-up process.
Disaster assistance may include grants for rental assistance, temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Low-interest disaster loans may also be available from the Small Business Administration, for homeowners, renters, and businesses. Applicants can reach SBA at 800-659-2955 or visit sba.gov/services/disasterassistance
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