TRUTH: The one thing you will never see or hear is a FEMA employee or temporary hire advising you of the best way to recovery from a disaster without acquiring additional financial debt.
Disaster Recovery based on research from the 2016 floods in Louisiana will leave a typical household with less net worth. The average is 30% less net worth because of the increased costs of homeownership after a disaster, disaster debt to recover and disaster losses not recovered.
Look around at some neighborhoods in which the average earnings are 120% AMI or less. You will see blight and decay increase after each disaster. This isn't because the homeowners or property owners are not trying to recover. It's because financially they can not recover from repeated disasters. We have noticed by the 3rd major or sever disaster claim the household is actually looking to relocate and do nothing to the damaged property. The recovery issue hits more households earning less than 120% AMI with no mortgages than it does with homes with mortgages. Insurance requirements often secure the repairs of a home with mortgages unless the home has been determined to have more than 51% damage and / or the damage is more than market value. Often homeowners with homes substantially damaged lose their insurance funding for repairs by banks and lenders who practice protecting their investments. Most banks will require the insurance funds to be used to pay off or pay down the unpaid balance of a homes mortgage if the damage is over 51% and the assessment was conducted by FEMA inspectors.
Now, what you are not being told is if you wait, 6 months, 12 months up to 18 months for your states Community Development agency to start public awareness marketing for HUD CDBG-DR grants you might see the light at the end of the tunnel. This tunnel may be 4 to 6 years long.
Get your damage assessment completed this week or at least scheduled this week so you have grants, reimbursements, and other funding available to you in 2021. As of now, if you are not registered with FEMA you do not qualify for any assistance next year.