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Saturday's tornado recovery update: 'What you need to know'

Posted: May 3, 2014 - 6:52pm

Team Rubicon Public Information Officer Wes Craiglow offered the following updates in a press conference on Saturday evening. Here’s what you need to know:

• In total, Project Rubicon’s four volunteer resource center processed almost 4,600 volunteers — one of its largest volunteer turnouts, rivaled only by the “Superstorm Sandy” event in New Jersey. This doesn’t include volunteers working independently of Team Rubicon’s volunteer coordination system. All Hands Volunteers and the Arkansas Dream Center have been among any number of organizations that have played a large role in Saturday’s recovery and relief effort.

• More than 20 residential work orders were issued for specific addresses, and several other “unofficial” work orders for large-scale clearance along multiple tracts of land, fields and treelines.

• The Team Rubicon Hotline for anyone who needs help or wants to help is 469-301-1865. It rings a phone in a tent in the team’s main volunteer resource center set up outside of Home Depot in Conway.

Also, County Attorney David Hogue took some time after Saturday’s the press conference to sit down in the living room of a home on East Wicker Street in Vilonia and visit with the home’s owner and the rest of the county about “realistic expectations” for people who will be relying on public and private assistance to rebuild their homes.

“Some people will come across right now and say, ‘I don’t’ know what to do, I have no hope, and I’m destitute,’ Hogue said. “That’s not necessarily the case, because there are resources out there.

“Other people will say ‘I lost my home, and the federal government is going to come in and fix all my problems. Sadly, that’s not the case either.

“The federal government will try their best to fix some of your problems, but FEMA’s not going to carry you through the long term, and Small Business Administration can give you a loan, but it’s not just going to be a free check for the long term.

“The sad part of today is that we do end up paying for the bulk of our own disasters, even when they come from the sky.

“The reason I’m saying all this, is I just don’t want people to have their expectations set too high or too low.”

Hogue also offered the following advice and guidance:

• Go to www.faulknerrelief.com for more information about FEMA and Small Business Association relief.

• Charities, FEMA, and the Small Business Administration do different things.

• Charities, including Team Rubicon, offer free cleanup assistance. Red Cross is feeding people and lending help to survive the crisis and offer what comforts they can. Once they are mostly done, FEMA will still be here.

• FEMA is here to write checks for short-term grants to provide shelter and cleanup, but they don’t help people re-establish business. They only help people re-establish their lives and homes.

• Badges will identify small Business Administration agents. If someone comes to you without a badge, and claims to be with the Small Business Administration or any federal program, “don’t buy into it,” Hogue said.

• The Small Business Administration is a federal organization that provides no-cost, low-interest loans. People need these loans to help rebuild homes. Sometimes they will supplement insurance, which would pay the bulk of rebuilding, but Small Business Administration loans may pay on top of insurance to build a more modern home up to new building codes.

• Small Businesses Administration loans are also available to help re-establish businesses.

• The application deadline for Small Business Administration loans is June 30. Everyone is urged to apply for one of these loans, no matter what their financial situation. Even bankruptcy may not disqualify an applicant if they get their application filed before the deadline.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb, can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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