By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – As residents in the hardest hit areas of LaPlace continue to recover from the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Isaac, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to make sure that all of their needs are being met.
Over the past few weeks, FEMA community relations employees have been walking door-to-door throughout LaPlace connecting with residents to ensure they have all had the opportunity to properly register with the agency.
“There are still some people who don’t know how to register or don’t think they have to because they have insurance,” said FEMA spokesperson Margaret Broadbent. “We have had residents register with us every day since we got here on Sept. 2.”
Outside of helping residents register, Broadbent said another key reason FEMA conducts door-to-door visits is to discuss the process with residents. She said there are several residents getting denial letters in the mail.
“There is always a reason for a denial, and there are usually several ways to appeal to fix it,” she said. “A denial is just telling the resident that they need to get back in touch with FEMA.”
FEMA community relations representative Mandy Fields said during a recent walk in the Cambridge subdivision that many residents she encountered still had not made a visit to the Disaster Recovery Center at the New Wine Christian Fellowship center.
“We stress the importance of visiting the DRC,” Fields said. “There are more than just FEMA representatives there. Residents can get legal advice, housing information, insurance information, and a lot more. Many residents don’t realize the advantages of getting there.”
Shefique Mohammad, community relations team leader, said FEMA street teams are usually very well received in every neighborhood they have gone through.
“Most residents are happy to see us out here,” Mohammad said. “Many residents have lots of questions about inspections, insurance, debris removal and other things, and we take note of it all. We encourage residents not to give up once they get denied aid. There is a process you need to go through.”