Assistance/Relief for SE Louisiana tornado victims, how to help - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Assistance/Relief for SE Louisiana tornado victims, how to help

On February 11, President Donald Trump approved a request by Governor John Bel Edwards for a federal disaster declaration in several parishes hit by the tornado outbreak hitting the area on February 7, 2017.

In Livingston Parish, officials and NWS confirmed tornado activity in the Killian and Springfield area. Another tornado was reported in the Watson area, damaging homes in the northern portion of the parish. In Ascension, a tornado was confirmed to have touched down in the Donaldsonville area at approximately 11 a.m. near the Old Rice Mill. Other damage was reported in Donaldsonville on Williams and St. Patrick Streets.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

FEMA: Residents of Livingston & Orleans Parish affected by this week’s severe storms can apply for aid at disasterassistance.gov or 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).  Have this information when you apply for FEMA aid:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Bank account & routing numbers for direct deposit of funds.

A mobile disaster recovery center opened Thursday, February 16 in Livingston Parish. Homeowners, renters, and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the tornadoes can visit the center for assistance. Specialists from FEMA, SBA, non-governmental organizations, and the local community will be available to answer questions and provide information to survivors. The center will close Wednesday, February 22 at 6 p.m. The location and hours of the center are below:

  • Location: Livingston Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness: 20399 Government Blvd., Livingston, LA 70754
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: The Louisiana Workforce Commission is accepting applications for DUA from residents and businesses in Livingston and Orleans parishes until the deadline of March 15, 2017. 

Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by established deadlines. DUA is available to those who:

  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment;
  • Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage of destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income; 
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster or
  • Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household. 

Applications filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and DUA benefits may be denied unless the individual provides good cause. Applicants must submit their Social Security number, check stubs and documentation to support the claim that they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. In some cases, additional documentation may be required. To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the date the DUA application is filed.

DUA is available from weeks of unemployment beginning February 12 until August 12, as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. 

To file for DUA, applicants should apply online by visiting www.laworks.net and filing an application through the LWC’s HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) portal or by calling the Benefits Analysis Team at 1-866-783-5567 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. Due to high call volume at this time, applicants are encouraged to try the online method first. Additional information is available at www.laworks.net

FREE LEGAL HELP: Free disaster-related legal advice is available to low-income Louisiana tornado survivors. Those who face legal issues due to the tornadoes may call the Legal Services hotline at 800-310-7029 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Voicemail is available and messages are generally returned the next business day.

Examples of legal assistance available include:

  • Assistance with securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors.
  • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims.
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents that were destroyed.
  • Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures.
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems.
  • Counseling on landlord/tenant problems. 

RELIEF FUNDS

United Way 2017 TORNADO RELIEF FUND: Tornadoes have caused widespread damage throughout our region, destroying homes and businesses. Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time, money, and is more than just brick and mortar. United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) and its supported programs with nonprofit Community Impact Partner Agencies can provide food, clothing, counseling and other services to make people whole. Financial donations to the fund can be made online or by texting LAUnited to 313-131. 

Greater New Orleans Foundation TORNADO RELIEF FUND: Proceeds from this fund will support nonprofit organizations in the Greater New Orleans area providing assistance to families who have suffered catastrophic losses due to the devastation wreaked by the tornadoes in various neighborhoods throughout the region. New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) and his Trombone Shorty Foundation are partnering with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to match donations to this fund made from now through Sunday night dollar for dollar up to $50,000. Financial donations to the fund can be made online.

American Red Cross: The American Red Cross has a donation page specifically set up for Southern Storms and Tornadoes. Monetary donations can be made here. In the drop-down, choose “Southern Storms and Tornadoes.”  You can also text 'TORNADO' to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Samaritan's Purse: A Samaritan's Purse Disaster Response tractor-trailer is now on the way, and the organization is mobilizing volunteers to provide relief to New Orleans—an area where Samaritan's Purse responded less than 12 years ago after Hurricane Katrina. For more information about how to help or volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, go to spvolunteernetwork.org. Donations to help with the tornado relief efforts can be made at samaritanspurse.org.

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