A new relief center opened Thursday morning in Coweta, where floods and high winds recently caused a lot of damage. The center will coordinate help from the federal government.
After first responders go away, the next help comes from volunteer groups, then, usually FEMA.
The Federal Emergency Management people can help with cash for emergency repairs and steer people into long-term help.
FEMA has set up shop at Coweta's Intermediate High School at 14699 South 305 East Avenue.
They have everything they need to handle claims from flood and tornado damage since the first of May.
What they really need are people who have damage to apply for what's available, and Mike Wade with FEMA doesn't want people to think they don't qualify.
"The only way they will know if they're eligible for assistance, the only way to know is to apply. If they're not eligible, then they won't get any money from FEMA," he said.
There is a process, and some paperwork, but plenty of people to help push it through.
The disaster relief center will stay open as long as there's demand - typically about a month.
FEMA and the Small Business Administration are on the front line of federal relief. One provides some grants, the other, long-term loans to repair and rebuild.
“We provide disaster assistance loans, they're low-interest loans to help homeowners replace or rebuild damaged property, $200,000 for homeowners, up to $40,000 for renters and up to $2 million for businesses," said Mike Flores, SBA.
The floods were the latest disaster in the county, and the scope of the disaster is still being added up, but it's clear that people with flood damage will have losses the government will help cover beyond what their insurance handles.
“FEMA's primary goal is for immediate short-term needs, such as emergency repairs to make it safe and sanitary, to make it livable so you don't have to live somewhere else," Wade said.
The center is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Survivors can apply for state and federal assistance online or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585.
Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362 to register.
There are several more stations around the state, the next closest is in McAlester.
You can find more information here.