FEMA sets up flood help center

LAWRENCEVILLE - Local flood victims will have several opportunities to get help, as federal officials and the Salvation Army will open assistance centers today.

A disaster recovery center will open at 8 a.m. today at the Mountain Park Depot at 5050 Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn.

The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week to allow for the county's flood victims to apply for federal assistance.

The Salvation Army is opening seven disaster centers across metro Atlanta to distribute foodboxes, cleanup kits and clothing, including at the Lawrenceville Corps Community Center at 3455 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville.

That center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and applicants must have a photo ID with proof of residence.

"We are grateful to FEMA, GEMA and Gwinnett Emergency Management for their hard work to make sure Gwinnett County was included in the federal disaster declaration," Chairman Charles Bannister said of the Mountain Park center. "Last week's flooding took a severe toll on many of our residents and their property. While recovery will take some time, I'm hopeful federal disaster aid will help those families and businesses in our community that need it to become whole again."

The federal declaration covers individual assistance and can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

The declaration also allows Gwinnett County government to receive federal funds for damage to roads and water, sewer and stormwater assets.

In addition to visiting the Disaster Recovery Center in Mountain Park, victims can apply for aid online or by telephone. Applications can be submitted online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

"I'm very proud of what county workers did under sudden and often-changing conditions during the emergency phase last week," County Administrator Glenn Stephens said. "Now that we have moved beyond the life-safety crisis, our staff will continue to take any and all actions necessary and feasible to assist residents as they begin the recovery process."