Disaster Recovery Center opens in Pocahontas

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) –Several weeks after flood waters ravaged businesses and homes residents now have a central location where they can go and try to get help.

Representatives from different organizations including FEMA are at the Pocahontas Community Center to answer questions and help fill out paperwork.  Many still living with the devastation day to day say they want answers.

"It's just so overwhelming, you know, you live in a place and you think everything is fine and then the next day it's not," said Jeff Lasiter.

Clover Bend resident Jeff Lasiter is one of many with a story to tell.

"Two or three square miles was nothing but water.  Water was up to fifteen feet deep in some places," said Lasiter.

That water has left him and his family homeless for now.

"I've got to have a place to stay while I repair.  My house is not livable and I've got to have a place to live and they say we are eligible for assistance," said Lasiter.

Many residents have already filled out paperwork and have even gotten packets in the mail from FEMA while many others are just starting the process.  No matter what step they are in everyone has questions.

"This is a place to start.  You've got to fill out the paperwork," said Lasiter.

Cynthia Cowell with the Small Business Administration's Disaster Assistance program says there are many ways they can help.

"We can't duplicate what FEMA has given them but we can work with them to fill in the gap," said Cowell.

Cowell said through SBA they offer low interest loans up to $200,000 for homeowners for repairs or relocation.  They can also do loans for $40,000 for homeowners and renters to replace contents and up to $2,000,000 for businesses.

"A lot of people are cutting themselves short saying, 'Well, I didn't have all that much damage', don't cut yourself short.  Register with FEMA," said Cowell.

One man we talked to declined to go on camera but says he is frustrated by what he calls the "lack" of assistance he is getting.  Others say they know this will be a slow process.

"This is not something that is going to happen over night it's going to take months' maybe years," said Lasiter.

"The best of our abilities and we're going to take care of your family in times of disaster and need," said Lasiter.

The Disaster Recovery Center will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

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