FEMA center in Jackson County helps community with storm recovery

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MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY) - Nearly a month since Hurricane Michael, and FEMA is still working with people in need to get their lives back to normal.

Yesterday, the Jackson County Commission held a town hall to provide details about the cleanup effort, but that isn't the only way for people to find information.

The recovery center in Jackson County has had over 2,000 visits.

Most people are there to check on their application for monetary relief, but it has a lot more to offer.

"I had a lot of trees cut down, to find somebody to grind the stumps down also, and help with pulling other debris to the road for the FEMA disaster assistance to pick up for me,” said Jackson County resident Melissa Watson.

Melissa Watson says there are a lot of little things that go into cleaning up from Hurricane Michael.

She came by the FEMA recovery center in Jackson County to fill out her application for disaster relief,

Having someone in person to talk to about her issues has made life just a little less stressful.

"It's very helpful,” said Watson. “It is. I've been talking to other people around town and they've said it's very helpful and quick, with all that's going on."

She also needs more than funding - she needs a little help.

"Trying to get assistance with help putting a tarp on my roof,” said Watson. “I noticed I had a little leak going on."

Melissa was able to talk to the Army Corps of Engineers at the recovery center about getting the tarp put on for free.

She may be on her way to everything she needs, but the recovery center has people there who can help with a wide variety of post-storm issues.

"Disaster Unemployment Assistance - a lot of that is funded by FEMA, but it is provided by the states,” said Nate Custer, FEMA Public Information Officers. “People who lost work, because their place of employment was damaged, or the roads blocked their job sites."

If FEMA doesn't have a resource someone needs, they have other outlets available to refer people to.

"FEMA is not here so to speak to run the show, we're just part of the equation in the recovery, not only with our state and local partners, but with the faith based organizations, the volunteer groups, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, it's a total effort," said Custer.

The recovery center is located at the Jackson County University Extension Office open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

FEMA says they will keep the recovery center open as long as the community needs it.

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