FEMA offers help to Irma victims some counties

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FEMA is offering individual assistance to victims of Hurricane Irma in 37 counties.

Pasco, Polk Citrus, Hardee and Highlands counties were added to the disaster declaration on Wednesday.

FEMA does not yet have mobile disaster recovery centers in place, but people who need help can reach out to FEMA online or by phone.

"Please don't wait for disaster recovery centers to open. Register for FEMA assistance now as soon as it is safe to do so," said FEMA spokesman John Mills. "Damage assessments are ongoing, and additional counties based on those damage assessments may be added to the disaster declaration."

Residents can get federal disaster assistance through the FEMA mobile app - https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app - which is also available in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The app allows residents to upload and share photos of damage, access local resources, and toggle between English and Spanish.

Assistance can also be requested by filling out an online questionnaire and aid application at DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).

A disaster inspector will schedule a visit to properties in areas covered by the declaration. FEMA urges applicants to note whether the home is safe to enter. 

Much of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma will be covered by private homeowner's insurance or flood insurance. FEMA helps people who do not have insurance or helps fill gaps for what insurance does not cover. It offers low-interest disaster loans, grants for home repairs, temporary housing support and other assistance depending on the extent of damage and circumstances.

"FEMA has been a great partner," said Governor Rick Scott. "What the president gave us with the major declaration is going to help our families get back to a normal life as fast as possible."