Agency aids seniors with Katrina damage

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 12, 2005

REGION – Area citizens over 60 who sustained damages due to Hurricane Katrina now have help for home repairs.

The Alabama-Tombigbee Area Agency on Aging has teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to aid Katrina victims in Clarke, Sumter, Choctaw and Washington counties.

“We did the same thing for Ivan,” Merolyn Newsom, director of the Area Agency on Aging, said. “We can help with home repairs and removal of tree limbs and debris.”

Email newsletter signup

According to Newsom, the agency has done repairs for Hurricane Ivan victims ranging from roofs and ceilings to walls and floors.

“All of our work is done through contractors,” she said. “And we were able to help a lot of people with the Ivan funding.”

Newsom said the process is slow and they are currently still doing repairs from Ivan so it may be a while before they begin Katrina work.

“If you have insurance that covers damage, use it,” she said. “We are here to help the people who are out there and don’t. We target low-income individuals.”

In order to take advantage of the opportunity citizens must first call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 to get a reference number.

Next, residents call the Area Agency on Aging at 1-888-617-0500 to describe the damage so the agency can “guesstimate” how much money will be needed for repairs.

According to Newsom non-residents of the four counties can apply but are not guaranteed help.

“FEMA declared the counties so it’s over our heads,” she said. “We don’t know if we can help.”

Contact the agency to find out about other options to help with storm repair aid for non-residents.

“We will do what we can. We have limited funds. We can’t build a new home or pay for a trailer, but we can help make it better,” Newsom said. “We will do everything we can to help make their living conditions better.”