In Lincoln County, 552 households have registered for disaster assistance and have received over $1.2 million following the Echo Mountain Complex fire event last month.
But according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) there are still people that can apply for assistance.
FEMA Spokesperson Jann Tracey said the federal agency has been busy in Oregon’s eighth counties affected by the wildfires, assisting over 7,000 households and shelling out over $14 million.
“We’re moving along,” Tracey said. “But we can recognize, based on the damage, that there are still some people that haven’t registered for assistance. We’re trying to get the message out that people need to register.”
Tracey said the first thing to do if you were affected by the fires is to contact your insurance company, which will concurrently allow you to register with FEMA. There are a number of ways to start the application process. North Lincoln County residents can go online to disasterassitance.gov, call 1-800-621-FEMA, download the FEMA app on your mobile device, or visit the external outreach center at the Lincoln City Community Center, which is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
“Even if you have insurance, you should still apply for federal assistance because we often cover a lot of things that insurance does not cover,” Tracey said. “I think the best way, if you are able, is to visit the External Outreach Center, so you can ask questions one on one and find out specifics about your case.”
There are several upcoming assistance deadlines available for affected residents.
Today (Oct. 13) is the last day residents can apply for the Critical Needs $500 one time payment. This check is only available to Lincoln County residents and is intended to assist with life sustaining expenses such as food, water, medical supplies, etc.
This week, the Household Hazardous Waste Material removal deadline is Oct. 16. At no cost to the homeowner, materials such as gas, oil, battery, paint, cleaning solvents, will be removed from your property if you apply. This material must be removed before debris can be picked up, according to Tracey. Residents will need to sign a contract to allow Lincoln County to access to the property. This contract can be found on the County website. Any debris removal after that will be the homeowners responsibility at this time.
Another deadline is to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance by Oct. 23. This is available for anyone who lost a job or income due to the wildfires.
According to Tracey, the most common questions FEMA has received is regarding denial letters.
“If they get a denial letter, and they don’t read all the way through it, they assume that’s the end of the line, but it’s not,” Tracey said. “Typically it is something simple like you need more documentation, which is complicated in fire because people often lose their documentation.”
Tracey said there could be a number of simple fixes such as fixing or adding a missing a signature. FEMA encourages residents to go into the external outreach center or call the phone number to talk to someone one on one and ask questions about the denial letter.
“Don’t think it’s the end of the line because you receive a denial letter. Find out why and what else they might need,” Tracey said. “As soon as possible, make an application. It does take time to go through the process and get all the correct documentation.”