FEMA urging Hispanic families who need assistance to come forward

FEMA urging Hispanic families who need assistance to come forward
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a grant for $1 million to construct a stand-alone community safe room outside of Hattiesburg. (Photo source: FEMA)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - FEMA is continuing their efforts to assist the people affected by the Jan. 21 tornado. The organization wants to remind the Hispanic community of the potential benefits they can receive as a result of any damage during the tornado.

"A lot of the families probably don't understand, or it's a lack of information because of the language barrier. I know a lot of them have been affected by the tornado event," FEMA Public Information Officer Alberto Pillot said.

Pillot also spoke about the FEMA disaster survival assistance teams. The teams knock on doors in damaged areas to check on survivors, and to check the status of those who have registered for FEMA assistance. Pillot said the teams have Spanish-speaking representatives.

"We encourage those in the Hispanic community that when these people knock on their doors to talk to them and ask them questions. If you need to register right on the spot, you can," Pillot said.

FEMA has guidelines when it comes to registering for assistance. If your family is undocumented, you can still receive assistance from different volunteer programs. If you have one member of your household who has a social security number, the entire family may qualify for assistance, but FEMA said they do not want that to stop families from applying.

"We encourage undocumented families that have either one child, or one family member in that structure or who don't have it at all, to come down to the recovery center because we're here to help them," Pillot said. "We have bilingual folks here who can translate the information. We want them to come down because they're also having a hard time and going through the process."

To register for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362), or visit DisasterAssistance.gov