FEMA rep in parish courthouse

Anyone with hurricane damage from either hurricanes Ike or Gustav should visit the local Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative, David Colclough, a hazard mitigation specialist who was assigned to Vermilion Parish last week.

Colclough said he is here to assist people with recovery, insurance issues and to answer questions regarding re-building and finances.

Colclough’s office is located in the Abbeville courthouse in the Police Jury offices, and holds the same hours as the Police Jury. Temporarily relocated from Montana, Colclough said he does not know how long he will be here because “FEMA is unpredictable.”

“I’m here to help people,” Colclough explained. “This is a time of recovery. People are beginning to work on their homes. They have questions about their insurance, questions about what they can do to repair homes, so I’m just trying to help with anything they have on their mind,” he added.

Although Colclough’s office is not an official Disaster Recovery Center, he said he offers a similar type of assistance to Vermilion Parish. “I’m just assigned here to be helpful,” he said. “I’m not an intermediary (between residents and FEMA); I’m just an advisor,” he said.

“Anybody that’s had damage, usually they’ll come in and I’ll talk to them (and) make sure they don’t have any questions and if they’re working on their house, I try to give them some suggestions on things to do,” Colclough said. He explained there are several issues he addresses including flood insurance increases, registering with FEMA, and other funding possibilities such as SBA low-interest loans and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which has not yet been established in Vermilion Parish.

Colclough said his purpose is not to help people with questions regarding individual assistance, but said he frequently answers questions concerning flood insurance, and helps to make sure people are, first, registering with FEMA, then having inspections and, next, notifying their insurance agents. He said he explains Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage (ICC), for those who are trying to elevate their homes.

“The (ICC) is through the insurance policy, if the community, in this case, the Parish, is going to require that homes be made flood-resistant or flood-proof, then people may come under the Increased Cost Compliance on their flood insurance,” he explained. “The first step,” he said to qualify for ICC is to “determine if they are 50 percent damaged; if 50 percent of the cost to repair their home is greater than 50 percent of the pre-disaster market value, then they may qualify for (ICC).”

ICC coverage of up to $30,000 can be issued to flood insurance policy holders in high-risk areas known as Special Flood Hazard Areas, to help pay the costs to bring their home or business into compliance with their community’s floodplain ordinance. Colclough said he is unaware of any ordinances in Vermilion Parish, but that there might be some decisions made in the near future.

For more information about FEMA or assistance that is available to you, please visit the FEMA Web site at FEMA.gov, or call 1-800-621-3362, or for TTY call 1-800-462-7585. Colclough can be reached through the Vermilion Parish Police Jury office at 898-4300.

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