For many residents of southeastern Louisiana, the answer to the question "how bad is it" has yet to be answered. Thousands of our state's residents who evacuated ahead of the storm have still not been allowed to return to see what remains of their property following the passage of Hurricane Ida over the weekend.

There have been many reports of severe to catastrophic damage for many communities that were in the direct path of the storm. The prognosis for the return of electric service to many of those communities might be measured in weeks as opposed to days. So, the need to make other living arrangements has become a necessity.

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If you find yourself in that situation there is a place you can turn and that place is FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed more than 1,300 employees to the region to assist you in getting your life back together. And in the meantime, make sure you and your family have a safe place to stay.

If your home is uninhabitable you will likely find yourself eligible for a FEMA Individual Assistance Grant. Now, there is a process and certain steps you need to take before you can get federal assistance. The first thing you need to do is call your insurance company.

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By law, FEMA cannot cover damage that is already covered by your insurance policy.  But FEMA might be able to help you cover the cost of repair or replacement on things not covered by your insurance. These grants can be made for basic home repairs or whatever repairs are needed to make your home livable.

Granted rebuilding and repairing your home might take days, weeks, or even months. So, you can apply for FEMA grants to pay for rental housing or relocation expenses incurred because of the storm's damage.

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You won't know unless you apply and the easiest way to do that is through this website. DisasterAssistance.gov or if you don't have access to the internet or wi-fi you can call 1-800-621-3362. They can and will walk you through the application process. I would encourage you to act sooner than later.

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