Flooding Resources and Information
U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn announced that Major Disaster Declaration 4617-DR had been approved for the State of North Carolina following Tropical Storm Fred.
The declaration provides Individual Assistance for Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania Counties and Public Assistance for Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Madison, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey Counties. All areas in the State of North Carolina are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
“When flooding struck Western North Carolina last month, I immediately asked Joe Biden to honor any request from Governor Cooper related to issuing a major disaster declaration for the flood-torn areas of my district. Today, President Biden approved the North Carolina disaster declaration requested by the Governor’s office. I look forward to helping my constituents secure this crucial aid for themselves and for their families.” -Congressman Madison Cawthorn
Constituents can call 800-621-3362 or visit disasterassistance.gov to apply for federal assistance. Those seeking help with assistance can contact Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s office at (202) 225-6401 or (828) 435-7310.
Additional resources for residents impacted by the storm:
- Families seeking immediate assistance should call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
- Buncombe County Helpline: 828-844-5455 (M-F 8a-5p)
- Transylvania County Communications: 828-884-3188
- Haywood County Helpline: 828-356-2022 (Monitored 8a-8p)
- Haywood County Food Deliveries: 828-235-8247
- Housing for Displaced in Haywood County Mountain Projects: 828-452-1447
- Hotline to help farmers: 1-866-645-9403
- Crisis Cleanup Hotline: 828-222-3975
If you live in Buncombe, Haywood or Transylvania County and were affected by Tropical Storm Fred, FEMA may be able to help with temporary housing expenses, basic home repairs or other essential disaster-related needs that are not covered by insurance.
There are several ways to apply: Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-3362, or use the FEMA app for smartphones. If you use a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service. Lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
FEMA will ask for:
- A current phone number where you can be contacted.
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.
- Your Social Security number.
- A general list of damage and losses.
- Banking information if you choose direct deposit.
- If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.
If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your damage expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.
If you report that you cannot or may not be able to safely live in your home, FEMA may need to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inspection may be conducted remotely, or it may be an exterior inspection. FEMA will contact you to let you know how the inspection will take place.
For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection. However, they may request an inspection if they later find significant disaster-caused damage.
If a physical inspection is required, the inspector will arrange to meet you outside the damaged residence.
Remote inspections have no impact on the types of Other Needs Assistance available that do not require an inspection. This includes childcare, transportation, medical and dental, funeral expenses, moving and storage, and Group Flood Insurance Policy Assistance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has activated its Disaster Distress helpline. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone at 800-985-5990 for disaster survivors who are experiencing emotional distress. ASL users can contact the helpline through videophone at 800-985-5990, or by selecting the “ASL Now” option on the DDH website at disasterdistress.samhsa.gov.
For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.
Survivors should be aware that con artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud, scams or identity theft. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors.
Survivors should keep the following information in mind while FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams, housing inspectors and other officials are on the ground.
- Don’t trust anyone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster workers do not ask for or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.
- Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for a large cash deposit or other payments in full.
- Be wary of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. The person might ask for your Social Security number and income or banking information. FEMA representatives will have a laminated badge and your FEMA application number.
- Protect the privacy of your nine-digit FEMA case/application number. Legitimate FEMA housing inspectors will NOT ask for this information.
- Don’t give your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information.
Fraudulent building contractors
- Use licensed or verified local contractors with reliable references.
- To find licensed, certified North Carolina contractors, check the state’s licensing board at nclbgc.org/license-search/.
- Don’t pay more than half the costs of repairs in advance.
- Demand that contractors detail the job you expect them to do and ask them to give you a written estimate.
- If you believe you or a loved one are the victim of a scam or identity theft, report it immediately to your local police or sheriff’s department, or contact the North Carolina Department of Justice online at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/ or toll-free by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity involving FEMA, you can report it to the FEMA Fraud Branch at: Email:StopFEMAFraud@fema.dhs.gov, Fax: (202) 212-4926 or write to:
FEMA Fraud and Internal Investigation Division
400 C Street SW Mail Stop 3005
Washington, DC 20472-3005
- If someone is using your personal information to open new accounts, make a purchase or get a tax refund, report it at IdentityTheft.gov.
- You can file a complaint with the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors if you have been scammed or have a dispute with a business regarding a transaction.
- Reporting to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker can help others become aware of scams in your local area.
Free legal assistance is available to survivors in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who were affected by Tropical Storm Fred.
Survivors facing disaster-related issues who cannot afford an attorney may call the Disaster Legal Aid hotline at 866-219-5262. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours on Monday and Thursday are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Apply for help online at www.legalaidnc.org/get-help/self-help-library/disaster-relief.
The service is operated by Legal Aid of North Carolina, a statewide, nonprofit organization that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people.
Legal Aid may be able to help survivors in the following ways:
- Clarify home ownership/heir property
- Assist with benefits applications and appeals processes
- Support victims of fraudulent contractors or assist with landlord disputes
- Provide insurance policy assistance
- Assist community groups that support long-term recovery