Hurricane Irma Recovery Tips

This is terrific information, and not just for artists! Copy and paste anywhere you think it will be seen by those impacted by the storm.  (Note: My home and property and family are all safe, unaffected by the storm.) 

1. File with FEMA and get your FEMA number ASAP! You will need it for everything. Download the FEMA app now. They now prefer that you register online rather than the phone.
2. File a claim with BOTH your homeowner's and flood insurance. Even though it's a flood, homeowners will cover some wind damage and most of them will give you money for "loss of use" if you can't live in your house.
3. File for DSNAP-Disaster food stamps. ANYONE in the affected areas can get them, they are not just for poor people. Do not be proud, you can use the money you save on food to replace clothes and other necessities.
4. File for Disaster Unemployment. Again, DO NOT BE PROUD! If you can't live in your house or go to work because your work is closed or flooded, this applies to you.
5. Get rental assistance. FEMA and SBA provide rental assistance to help pay for a place to live until you can get back into your house or find a new one.
6. If you want to buy a house, apply for an SBA loan. The interest rates will be VERY CHEAP. Although it is called the SBA, it is for homeowner too.
7. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross will sometimes give away money as well. Just call them and apply.
8. Check local businesses for specials and discounts for people in the affected flood areas. Businesses will offer everything from half price pizza to furniture and clothing specials.
9. Call all of your bill collectors and notify them that you are in the affected area and/or that your house flooded. Most will delay your bill due dates for a month or two. This includes your mortgage company, cable, electricity, water, credit card companies, phone etc.
10. Most importantly, allow people to help you! They want to and you need the help!

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  • After my house fire, Steven & I had mold in my crawl space & deadly toxic mold spores went into the ducts & contaminated everything including US!  Lindstrom Cleaning & Construction/ Restoration from Plymouth, MN. didn't clean out the crawl space under the fireplace where the fire had started. I didn't realize this until after the statue of limitations!  DON'T WAIT. Hire a REPUTABLE "Certified Industrial Hygienist" to take air as well as tape sample tests thru your home~even if you do not see or smell mold & even if you feel good-Sometimes you get gravely sick months after. It is extremely dangerous on babies, children & Seniors!!! The old wives tale to clean mold is bleach...forget it.  Also the test kits at home depot are crap! The scary part is you CANNOT always see or smell it & if you DO, you had better get a Hygienist asap!-After 1-4 days you could easily have Aspergillus or Stachybotrys, & 100's of others after water has been sitting 1-4 days! I thank God every day that I was told about this as I would NEVER have done anything after my home was rehabed after my house fire.  All I knew was, I would get sick when I came home from shows, even tho everything in my house was newly replaced because I had good insurance. I was at the Arlington Racetrack Art Fair (in 1999) & jokingly told a customer trying on my rings, "Well, I'm going home tonight & sure I'll get sick again." Her Husband happened to be a Builder & asked if I had water, a flood, or house fire. I said, "YES, I had a house fire-how did you know?!" He told me he would be willing to bet I had MOLD.  He told me to call a Certified Industrial Hygienist to take tests & I did. Sure enough, he told me I had deadly molds & I had to get OUT right away & leave everything as it cannot be properly cleaned!  My home was them "Uninhabitable" by the City (heartbreaking as I just paid for it!)  Doctors & Internists are NOT TAUGHT about MOLD!  There are only a handful of Doctors across America that specialize in it. At that time, we lived in Minnesota so we went to Dr. Michel R. Gray in Arizona who has helped the Katrina & other flood victims. Dr. Gray is quite famous.  He saved our lives.  Mold affects the health of people differently. It attacks the weakest part of your body. It could make you sick right away or it could take months Don't Wait! I had very mild asthma, but only when I was in my home, I ended up calling 911, because I couldn't breathe. Steves joints got so bad in the house, he couldn't walk! I didn't have that problem & he didn't have mine., however we both had headaches/light-headed in the house (that can be common). So everyone is different. Don't wait until you are sick even if you replaced sheet rock, ect. I strongly suggest you hire a Cert. Ind. Hyg. BEFORE you start to rehab! I hope this helps you. Mold is serious-it's deadly & it causes many horrible diseases if left un-checked-Dr. Gray has treatments for you & if you get your house checked FIRST & your blood, that will tell him what kinds of molds if any you have. Dr. Michael R. Grays' address is 300 S. Ocotillo Ave. Benson, Arizona  & his phone number is 520-586-9111. IF he is not retired, he worked at a clinic where other Docs. may treat for mold or be able to refer you. Good luck to all. I'm so sorry for your losses~take care of yourself & family & hope I see you in good health like me & on the road again!

  • So helpful for those impacted by Irma and Harvey, thanks Geoff.

  • Thanks so much, Geoff ... sharing and tweeting.

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