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FEMA Taking Applications for Youth Preparedness Council

Students in grades 8 – 11 can apply to join the national Youth Preparedness Council between until March 8, 2020.

US59 during Harvey. Photo taken from Sorters-McClellan overpass. Courtesy of Melinda Ray.

Purpose of Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA created the Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) in 2012. Its purpose: to bring together young leaders interested in supporting disaster preparedness. They make a difference by completing national and local preparedness projects. The YPC supports FEMA’s commitment to involve America’s youth in preparedness-related activities. Additionally, it lets young people share their perspectives, feedback, and opinions with FEMA .

Includes Representatives from All Ten FEMA Regions

YPC members represent all ten FEMA regions. They have a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Members have been leaders in their communities’ preparedness. They work in teams on projects relating to financial preparedness, citizen responder programs, and youth preparedness education.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

YPC applications remain open through March 8, 2020!

Students in eighth through eleventh grade are eligible to apply.

To apply, go to FEMA’s application website or download a copy of the application form.

To be considered for the national YPC, complete all sections of the application. These include:

  1. A complete application form (including narrative responses to all application questions)
  2. Letters of recommendation
  3. Academic records (including transcripts from last year and this year)
  4. A list of extracurricular activities
  5. Any supplemental materials you wish to add to showcase your capabilities

For more information about how to apply, see the application instructions and Frequently Asked Questions.

Roles and Responsibilities

FEMA emphasizes that being selected to serve is an honor, but also a significant responsibility. The YPC requires dedication and time-management skills.

YPC members serve TWO years. Each YPC year begins in July with the YPC Summit. If members have not completed the mandatory requirements during their first year, FEMA may excuse the member from participating in a second year.

Members serve on committees with assigned tasks. They primarily communicate via email but have bi-monthly conference calls and other calls as needed.

For a full list of Roles and Responsibilities, CLICK HERE.

YPC Summit Held in Washington, DC on July 21 and 22

A YPC Summit is held annually in Washington, DC. In 2020, it will take place on July 21 and 22. Attendance is mandatory for all YPC members. The YPC Summit provides an opportunity for YPC members to meet FEMA representatives and each other.

Sessions during the YPC Summit cover a range of topics. In some sessions, YPC members are given the opportunity to share their ideas and questions with FEMA and community partners. In other sessions, members prepare for the projects they will complete during their time on the YPC.

Travel Expenses Covered for Member and Guardian

Each YPC member must have a parent/guardian or parent- approved chaperone to accompany him or her to the YPC Summit. In accordance with federal travel regulations, FEMA will reimburse transportation, lodging, and meals for each YPC member and his or her parent/guardian/chaperone.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/9/2020 with thanks to Congressman Dan Crenshaw and photo courtesy of Melinda Ray

894 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 143 after Imelda

How to Get Help from FEMA and SBA

Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Harris, Montgomery Counties to Help Imelda Survivors

Joint state/federal Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) opened earlier this month in Harris, Montgomery and certain other southeast Texas counties to help disaster survivors affected by Tropical Storm Imelda.

Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), local and state agencies will staff the centers. They can answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance. The closest centers to the Lake Houston Area are at the following locations:

  • Harris County Social Services Building
  • 9418 Jensen Drive
  • Houston, TX 77093
  • May County Center
  • 2100 Wolf Road
  • Huffman, TX 77336
  • Montgomery County Disaster Recovery Center
  • Bullas Sallas Park – Fair Association Building
  • 21675 McCleskey Road
  • New Cany, TX 77359
  • Jack Hartel Bld.
  • 318 San Jacinto Street
  • Liberty, TX 77575

Seven Days a Week (Until Further Notice)

DRCs help state and local officials maximize their reach to as many affected areas and survivors as possible. The centers offer in-person support to Texas homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage or losses during Tropical Storm Imelda.

Individual Assistance

Texas homeowners, renters and business owners in Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery and Orange counties that were included in the major disaster declaration for Individual Assistance may apply for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses incurred from Sept. 17 – 23, 2019.

Individual Assistance for homeowners and renters may be eligible for grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs. 

Disaster survivors must meet the following criteria qualify for assistance through the Individuals and Households Program:

  • Disaster losses are in a presidentially-declared disaster area.
  • The damage to the home must have been caused by the declared disaster.
  • The homeowner must provide proof of ownership.
  • Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) through FEMA. ONA helps survivors with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.
  • A member of the household must be a United States citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • The damaged home is where the applicant lives the majority of the year.
  • The applicant must have maintained flood insurance if assisted by FEMA in a previous disaster.
  • The damaged home is inaccessible or not livable due to the disaster.
  • The disaster survivor has necessary expenses or serious needs as a result of the disaster that are not covered by insurance or any othersource.

How to Register Online

To register, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Help is available in most languages and phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

What to Bring if You Go to a DRC

Survivors who plan to register with FEMA at a DRC should have the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged primary residence
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where they can receive mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds

Other Types of Assistance Available

Low-interest disaster loans from SBA are also available to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover residential and business losses as a result of the disaster. Applicants can visit a DRC for one-on-one assistance, visit www.SBA.gov/disasteror call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955

Here is an SBA Loan Fact sheet.

It explains the three different types of available disaster loans:

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans
  • Economic Injury
  • Home Disaster

The fact sheet also describes:

  • Loan terms
  • Loan limits
  • Interest rates
  • Restrictions on eligibility.
  • Funding of mitigation improvements
  • Refinancing
  • Relocation

This flowchart explains the three-step SBA Loan Application Process – application, verification, loan – much like any other loan.

Finally, this fact sheet discusses the three ways to register and apply: online, in person or by mail.

Difference Between SBA Loan and Individual Assistance

Many people I talk to have been wiped out financially by back-to floods. They fear they may not have the ability to repay an SBA loan. Therefore, they don’t want to apply for one. If you fall into that category, understand that being turned down for an SBA loan may qualify you for Individual Assistance. To get IA, you need to apply for an SBA loan first.

Group Flood Insurance

If you had Individual or Other Needs Assistance from a previous flood, you may already have GROUP flood insurance and not even know it. As part of the effort to reduce future expenses from floods, FEMA directly purchases Group Flood Insurance Policy (GFIP) certificates on behalf of applicants who are required to buy and maintain flood insurance BUT who may not otherwise be able to purchase a policy. FEMA may pay $600 under Other Needs Assistance (ONA) for three years of flood insurance for eligible ONA recipients. So if you flooded during Harvey and again on May 7th or during Imelda, check this out. Here is a factsheet on group flood insurance and a previous post on the subject.

For People with Disabilities

Disaster recovery centers are accessible to people with disabilities. American Sign Language interpreters may be available to assist at a DRC.

FEMA Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 to register. Those who use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a center may call 800-621-3362. All disaster recovery centers are accessible and equipped with tools to accommodate disaster survivors who need disability-related communication aids.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/27/2019

789 Days after Hurricane Harvey