NOW I get how this works. If you did not want to elevate your house, you will receive a letter that says you must. If you planned to elevate and hoped for the $30,000, your letter will state that you do not have enough damage.
Then you will have to contest the letter. According to FEMA’s quick assessment from the outside of our house, they estimated $35,000 in damages. Mind you, a FEMA inspector was inside our house for over an hour in November, documenting triple that amount. How much time and money would they have saved just by looking back at their own records?
We were also required to disclose to FEMA the amount insurance is giving us, which is WELL over 50% of the value of our house. This information is also at their fingertips, several times over since I have sent it three separate times trying to fight for rental assistance.
Now the building department in our city (also with better things to do) is wasting weeks writing letters to residents at the orders of FEMA saying that they do or do not qualify for mitigation assistance and do or do not have to raise or raze—based on this utter lack of real information, which we residents are then forced to contest so that another, reality-based letter can be issued.
Somehow they have the money and resources to spend on this, but not to award rental assistance to those of us who are still displaced.
Ah well, I did not start this blog to complain, but this is my own way of passing along information and getting word out there about what dire straits people are in. Please do not forget this is happening (and way, way worse). People need help. Give to charities that give directly to people (two have links on this blog—both have given directly to us). Share this blog. Tell the stories. Pray. Come to Long Beach and hang colorful stars from trees on our brown, desolate streets, painted by children with bright words of inspiration. However you take action. Thank you!
If you know anyone who has received a letter they wish they hadn’t, have them contact me and I’ll tell them what I have learned. My next blog will be more creative and tell a bit more of our personal Sandy story. Although my red tape tales do get more traffic than my creative entries!