Ala. Residents Reminded to Save Receipts for Disaster-Related Expenses

December 13, 2005

Alabamians whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina may receive a housing grant to make repairs to their homes or for other housing needs.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would like to remind Katrina survivors to save receipts for purchases made using grant monies to document their purchases.

If the homeowner goes ahead and makes repairs before an inspector comes to the property, receipts will show exactly what the expenses were.

Housing grants can be used to help with the following needs:

* Repair or restoration of a dwelling to its pre-disaster condition;
* Rental Assistance based on fair market rates for up to three months. If there is a continuing need, recertification may be granted every 3 months for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration;
* Reimbursement for hotel room and tax expenses.

“Receipts leave no doubt that the things you bought or services you paid for were for FEMA approved items. They will also be helpful in separating out expenses that were not paid for with a FEMA grant when you do your tax returns,” explained Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer in charge of the Alabama recovery effort.

Receipts should be held for three years. An envelope is given to applicants to assist them in record keeping and storing their receipts; anyone who needs one should call 800-621-FEMA.

For people with a hearing or speech impairment the number is 800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

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