NEWNAN, Ga. – State officials are now scrambling to help hundreds of disaster victims in Coweta County after federal funding was denied to individuals whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the EF-4 tornado that ravished the southwest metro Atlanta community nearly four months ago.
In an exclusive interview with FOX 5, Insurance Commissioner John King said FEMA’s decision is unprecedented. Historically, funding is not denied to victims in an area that the president has issued a major disaster declaration.
“It’s really unprecedented in the response that Coweta County has been turned down,” said Insurance Commissioner John King. “This is extremely rare and I would hope that there’s a chance that we can have them re-address their decision because I think it’s unfair.”
It’s been nearly four months and recovery efforts are far from over.
“I’m in a second wave of people who are coming to me,” said Kelli Yeager Nelson, Exec. Director of Bridging the Gap Community. “Initially the crisis was helping with damage, now it’s about insurance.”
Non-profit organizations like BTG Community Outreach have been on the frontlines since March. Like most disasters and times of need, these organizations are there to help until government funding arrives.
“FEMA gave public assistance that helped with debris removal and public buildings,” said Yeager-Nelson. “That money is not for individual assistance to help with shortfalls like an insurance gap.”
FEMA funds would not only have helped these individuals but would have also alleviated the aiding organizations with depleted resources.
But organizations are now scrambling for more donations, realizing they are not going to get a financial break anytime soon.
“This is so new,” said King. “We are going to do an assessment and see where the need is.”
And if living through an EF-4 tornado wasn’t rare enough, this community is once again trying to survive another rare occasion.
State officials are now scrambling to figure out how to help.
Disaster victims with questions or concerns about insurance claims can contact the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Office or for those who need help can contact Bridging the Gap Community Outreach.
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