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Posted on: March 13, 2019

Disaster Recovery Information - FEMA and SBA

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If you were affected by the storms, please visit this page for the most recent FEMA and SBA information. We will try to keep it updated as they send city officials new information.

Small Business Administration Information

SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center to Close April 12 (PDF)

SBA Approves Over 1 Million for Alabama Residents (PDF)

SBA Opens Disaster Loan Outreach Center (PDF)

SBA Fact Sheet (PDF)

SBA Disaster Field Operations Center East Press Release (PDF)

Getting Disaster Help from SBA (PDF)

SBA Disaster Loans (PDF)

SBA is operating a Business Recovery Center that has staff available to help ANYONE in Lee County applying for a disaster loan, including renters and homeowners. This location will cease operations on Friday, April 12 at the close of business.

It is located at:

Southern Union State Community College

Technical Building 7, 1st Floor, Classroom 5

301 Lake Condy Road

Opelika, AL 36801



Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Applications can also be made online at: or people may request a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955. The application deadline is May 6, 2019.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans to Lee County businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters.  We are encouraging impacted businesses and residents to first apply for assistance at and then submit an application to SBA to get much needed funds for their uninsured and under-insured losses. 


Small businesses in the contiguous counties of Chambers, Macon, Russell, and Tallapoosa, AL, are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans. 


Here are some program highlights:

  • Uninsured damage occurring March 3 is eligible for a possible SBA Disaster Assistance loan.
  • The deadline to apply for physical damage loans is May 6. 
  • Loans for homeowners and renters are as low as 2.063% with a term up to 30 years.
  • Loans for businesses are as low as 4.0% with a term up to 30 years.
  • Loans for churches and other private, non-profits are 2.75%, with a term up to 30 years.
  • Loans are directly from the federal government—the rate and term will not change.
  • If offered a loan, you have 60 days to decide to accept, and can decline it or accept a partial amount. If you decline, you have 6 months to change your mind and reapply.
  • Individuals and Businesses can borrow up to $25,000 without a lien on their property (no collateral).
  • SBA is deferring the first payment due on these loans for four months, so that businesses and residents can make repairs and replacements before payments begin on the fifth month from when you sign the promissory note.
  • Small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations can also apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The deadline for working capital loan applications is December 5, 2019.
  • Owners of rental properties may apply for a business loan.
  • Online applications: or call: 800-659-2955 with questions or to request a paper loan application.


FEMA Information

FEMA - Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents in Alabama (PDF)

FEMA - Lee County DRCs to Close But Help Remains (PDF)

FEMA Myths & Rumors about Assistance - March 19

FEMA Distaster Fact Sheet - March 20, 2019

FEMA Resources Available for Lee County Survivors

FEMA Fact Sheet

FEMA Survivor Resources and Documents (PDF)

The State/FEMA disaster recovery centers (DRCs) in Lee County will close permanently Saturday, March 30, 2019. Help for survivors will still be available after the DRCs close.  These locations include:


Smiths Station City Hall

2336 Lee Road 430

Smiths Station, AL 36877

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (EST) Monday - Saturday

1 - 5 p.m. Sunday


Providence Baptist Church

2807 Lee Road 166

Opelika, AL 36804

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CST) Monday - Saturday

1-5 p.m. Sunday

Applicants will need the following to apply for assistance: 

o   Name and Social Security number of the primary applicant

o   Name and Social Security number of secondary/co-applicant - encouraged

o   Current and pre-disaster address and zip code of the damaged property

o   Names of all occupants of the pre-disaster household

o   Current contact information

o   Types of insurance held by the household

o   Household pre-disaster annual gross income

o   Losses caused by the disaster

o   Banking information for direct deposit of financial assistance, if requested


NOTE: If you do not have access to a computer, you can come by the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library and use the media center. If you will let someone know you are working on FEMA or SBA registration, we will extend your time limit in the media center. We also have Chrome Books that are available for check out. The library is located at 200 South 6th Street, Opelika, AL 36801. The phone number is 334-705-5380.

·        Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are canvassing affected areas of Lee County to help survivors apply for disaster assistance and connect them with recovery resources. Team members will always have official identification. If you don’t see an official badge, ask to see one.


Understanding the FEMA Determination Letter

·        After a survivor registers for disaster assistance, he or she may receive a determination letter by mail or email from FEMA. One should read the determination letter carefully to understand eligibility for federal assistance.

·        There are many reasons for an initial ineligibility determination. The most common is the need to provide FEMA with a copy of a letter verifying insurance coverage before FEMA can process the grant application.


Other reasons for ineligibility may include:

o   The applicant did not sign the required documents.

o   The applicant did not prove occupancy or ownership.

o   The applicant’s identity may not have been verified.

o   The damage is not to the primary residence, but to a secondary home or a rental property.

o   Another member of the household may have applied and received assistance.

o   The applicant’s disaster-related losses could not be verified.

o   The damage caused by the current disaster has not made the home unsafe to live in. The home is still safe, sanitary and functional.

o   The applicant indicated on the application that he/she did not want to move while the damaged home was being repaired. This made the applicant ineligible for FEMA initial rental assistance. However, the applicant may have found further damage to the home and now has to move.


Applicants should get in touch with FEMA to provide more information or missing documentation:

o   Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).


Clearing Debris


Observe local ordinances when clearing debris. Sorting debris can help local

officials clear debris more quickly.       


Disaster Unemployment Assistance 

  • People who live in or worked in Lee County and became unemployed due to the severe weather March 3 may be eligible for assistance under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
  • Eligible applicants include those who no longer have a job, are unable to reach their place of employment, or were scheduled to start work in the Lee County and the job no longer exists; those who became the breadwinner or major support of the family because the head of household died, or those who cannot work because of an injury that incurred during the major disaster. All of the previously described circumstances must be as a direct result of the storms. Self-employed individuals must provide a copy of their 2018 income tax records.
  • Claims can be filed through the Alabama Department of Labor’s website at or by calling 1-866-234-5382. The deadline to file a DUA claim for Lee County is April 5, 2019.


Disaster Legal Service

  • Provides free, confidential legal services adequate to meet disaster-related needs for low-income individuals.
  • Types of disaster legal assistance:

    • Help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, loss of property, loss of life, etc.;
    • Drawing up new wills and other legal papers lost in the disaster;
    • Help with repair contracts and contractors;
    • Advice on problem landlords;
    • Estate administration, including guardianships and conservatorships;
    • Consumer protection matter;
    • Preparing a Power of Attorney.


Other Disaster Assistance

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened a Business Recovery Center in Lee County. SBA representatives at the center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The center will operate until further notice.


Southern Union State Community College

Technical Building 7, 1st Floor, Classroom 5

301 Lake Condy Road

Opelika, AL 36801

Hours: Weekdays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed: Saturdays and Sundays


·        After registering for disaster assistance, you may be referred to the SBA. In times of disasters, SBA offers low-interest loans for businesses, homeowners and renters. SBA will contact you with information on how to apply. There’s no obligation to accept a loan, but you may miss out on the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds if you don’t submit an application.

·        FEMA refers to information provided on the SBA disaster loan application to determine if you might be eligible for further assistance, whether you want a loan or not.

·        Information about low-interest SBA disaster loans and application forms are available online at You may also call 800-659-2955 or email If you use TTY, call 800-877-8339.


Internal Revenue Service Tax Relief

  • The Internal Revenue Service is offering relief to Lee County residents. The relief postpones various tax-filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on March 3, 2019. Affected individuals and businesses will have until July 31, 2019, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes individual income tax returns and payments normally due April 15, 2019. 
  • Eligible taxpayers will have until July 31, 2019, to make 2018 IRA contributions. 



  • Watch out for phony housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA or the SBA. Ask to see a badge if you don’t see one. Anyone representing the federal government, or its contractors will have an official ID badge. Call local law enforcement if you suspect fraud.
  • Report disaster fraud or scams to the FEMA Fraud Branch at 866-223-0814, fax, 202-212-4926, or email  You can also send information to:

FEMA Fraud

400 C Street S.W. Mail Stop 3005

Washington, D.C. 20472-3005




Lee County Emergency Management Agency

We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of the employees and volunteers at the Lee County EMA for their hard work and dedication to helping those affected by the storm. Please follow the Lee County EMA Facebook page for the latest news and updates.

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