Federal aid should give Nashville’s flooding victims a boost, but officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency caution that its range is limited.
Mayor Karl Dean said Wednesday the cost of damages from the weekend of record flooding will likely exceed $1 billion.
President Obama has authorized disaster declarations for four Middle Tennessee counties, including Davidson, clearing the way for federal aid to flow into Nashville.
“It’s safe to say the damage we are looking at will easily exceed a billion dollars,” Dean said Wednesday.
The hardest-hit neighborhoods include parts of Bordeaux, Bellevue and Antioch. The downtown commercial district, among several other areas of town, has also sustained significant damage.
Davidson County residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA to apply for assistance. Five Metro Parks and Recreation community centers –– Coleman, Bellevue, Hadley, Hermitage and East Park –– have turned into spots where victims can learn more about disaster relief.
Derek Jensen, external affairs specialist of FEMA, who’s currently working in Nashville, said the agency analyzes each case on an individual basis, taking into account insurance coverage and house damage.
“Most commonly, the type of assistance we normally provide is in the form of temporary housing,” Jensen said. “So, if you’re displaced from your residence, and you need a place to live, we can provide rental assistance.”
While Jensen said FEMA dollars could go toward paying for “some personal property,” it won’t pay for everything.
“I think it’s important to note federal assistance isn’t going to make people whole,” he said. “It’s not designed to put things back the way they were before the disaster. It will get people started on their road to recovery, and that’s an important boost that they need.”
Jensen’s advice to flood victims is to start the FEMA application process early.