CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — North Central West Virginia residents who were affected by the intense storms that occurred during August 2023 are being encouraged to explore Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance before the April application deadline.

Residents affected in Harrison, Calhoun, Kanawha, Clay, and Boone counties are urged to visit a designated FEMA assistance site in one of those five counties to determine what level of federal assistance can be provided. So far, over 150 households have applied to receive some form of assistance, and after a decision in March by FEMA to approve more funds, Regional Communications Director Layla Gulen calls on residents who may have been impacted by the 2023 storms, to see what could be offered to them.

“Survivors in Harrison County and throughout West Virginia, they’ve been using one of the many avenues that we have,” said FEMA Public Information Officer Layla Gulen. “With that being said, we’ve had over 100 visits to our Harrison County Disaster Recovery Center,” she said.

According to Gulen, the process for a resident to apply for FEMA assistance is fairly simple. For Harrison County residents, all they need to do is travel to the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg, speak with a FEMA agent, and provide any sort of cost estimate of repairs and damages undertaken since August 2023 due to the storms. From there, FEMA representatives will work to determine if a household is eligible for assistance and how much they’re able to receive.

“You come in, you sit down with one of our individual assistant specialists, and make sure that you kept all of those receipts from the damage that occurred last summer,” said Gulen describing the simplicity of applying for funds. “Bring those with you because that will help streamline the process,” she said.

Any resident who applies for FEMA assistance ahead of the April deadline is encouraged to bring any type of proof of purchases related to storm repairs. According to Gulen, this is regardless of the amount of materials purchased or if purchases were made to replace necessities. Residents are also urged to bring any insurance information that reflects the amount of damage your home or business may have received in August 2023.

“If you have flood insurance and you’ve already tried to make a claim with your flood insurance, but you received a denial letter from them, bring that with you,” said Gulen. “Any and all documentation you think is going to be pertinent, bring it,” she said.

Since the beginning of March, FEMA has approved over $1.3 million in assistance for West Virginians who were affected by the August 2023 storms that hit residents and businesses in five counties. Aside from FEMA assistance, 35 small business loans were also provided to residents who had businesses based out of their home as part of programs by the U.S. Small Business Administration. With federal assistance available in several different avenues, Gulen encourages residents, particularly in Harrison County, to explore their options before the opportunities close.

“If they believe that they have suffered any loss or damage due to last summer’s disaster, which occurred between August 28th and the 30th, please come in to the Harrison County Courthouse,” said Gulen. “Get that application filed before April 1st,” she said.