The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center, DRC, located in the Lampo Building, 500 E. Spring St., Neosho, will remain open this week to assist local residents affected by the spring flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center, DRC, located in the Lampo Building, 500 E. Spring St., Neosho, will remain open this week to assist local residents affected by the spring flooding.  
Hours are currently 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays through Friday. FEMA specialists are available to help area flood survivors. Response has been steady but not overwhelming, according to FEMA Media Specialist, Bob Porreca.
"There are no lines right now," Porreca said. "Right now, you can get service in a hurry. Come use what assistance we have available."
Porreca reminds residents that getting assistance can be quick or it can be a long process.  
"It can take awhile to get through the system," he said.
Porreca cited numerous weather disaster events around the nation this spring and said there are many who also need assistance.
Residents who have not yet contacted FEMA for assistance can begin by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-392-3362 or by registering on the FEMA website. Individuals can also download a FEMA application for Smart Phones. Or, residents can visit the DRC in Neosho to get the process started.
"You'll get a straight answer from real people at the DRC," Porreca said. "We are here to help and our representatives are trained to assist."
Multi-lingual assistance is available along with assistance for those with visual or hearing impairments.
Residents with critical unmet needs can contact United Way at 211.  
Porreca said that a tentative deadline to file for FEMA assistance may be sometime during the first week of August, giving residents just over a month to start the process.  The Neosho DRC will remain open at least through the end of June. If necessary, it could be longer.
Those who may have received a denial letter from FEMA are encouraged not to give-up.  
"Everyone makes mistakes," Porreca said.
Some errors might cause a denial where assistance is actually available or it may be a case that needs additional information to process the application.
"Always read the letter carefully," he said. "And come to a DRC or call the toll-free number to talk with someone. Ask questions."
Porreca recommends individuals register with the Small Business Administration as well as with FEMA. He reminds applicants that they do not necessarily need to own a business to qualify. Assistance for renters as well as homeowners can be available. Renters with flood damage may be eligible.  Porreca encourages everyone who registers with FEMA to also register with the SBA.
"If the SBA denies a claim, it may open up other opportunities for FEMA assistance," he stated.
Grants are also potentially available in areas some residents might not expect including disaster related medical and dental expenses, burial and funeral expenses, necessary vehicle repairs or replacement, and other areas.
"You'll never find out (what help may be available) if you don't register," Porreca said.
Flood survivors are encouraged to register, if they have not previously done so or to visit the DRC Center this week in Neosho with questions.  
"Keep in touch," Porreca said. "They can ask questions, check on the status of their application and more."
Residents may also call the toll-free line with questions or to check on the current status of a claim.  
"They need to hang onto their case number," Porreca also said. "That's very important so we can track them in the system."