FEMA Funds Disaster Case Management Program in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – FEMA has awarded nearly $70 million for disaster case management in Puerto Rico. This partnership provides survivors with a single point of contact to facilitate access to a broad range of resources and expedites their recovery after hurricanes Irma and María.
In line with Governor Ricardo Rossello’s plan to transition individuals from federal aid to other programs through disaster case management, cooperative agreements were established on September 2018 with nine nonprofits. These organizations provide local expertise, community connections and local capabilities, in addition to leveraging national and international commitment to Puerto Rico’s recovery.
“The key is creating a process and a place where people can feel comfortable to come and talk to somebody about their needs beyond the assistance they’ve gotten already from FEMA, the Commonwealth or from other government agencies,” said Mike Byrne, Federal Coordinating Officer for disaster operations in Puerto Rico.
Now, there are approximately 650 disaster case managers available to meet with survivors across the island in community recovery centers and different facilities throughout the 78 municipalities. To find a disaster case manager near you, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.
Disaster case managers have one-on-one conversations with survivors regarding their disaster- related unmet needs. Then, they draft a goal-oriented plan for their recovery, connect them with available resources and monitor their progress.
“Sometimes what it really takes is to sit across from the family and to hear them out. Let them tell their story. Let them tell you what they need and see what we can do,” Byrne said.
Through this program, individuals can receive disaster case management assistance regardless of their eligibility for FEMA assistance. Resources that may be available include commodities, housing repairs, spiritual and wellness resources and legal services.
To find a CRC near you, visit: fema.gov/disaster/4339/CRC or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362); press 2 for Spanish. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use TTY/TDD may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane María, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS – Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.