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Disaster Recovery for Homeowners and Businesses: An Inside View

Small Business Learning Center

SBA's Online Business Chat

A live Q&A session with small business experts. Submit your question before or during the chat discussion. You cannot submit question after Closing Remarks for the chat. No registration is needed for the web chat.

Expert: Michael Mitravich
Disaster Recovery for Homeowners and Businesses: An Inside View

Michael Mitravich

Program Analyst, SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance

Thursday, September 29, 2011 5:00 PM

Michael Mitravich is a Program Analyst with the Office of Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Small Business Administration. In this role, Mitravich oversees the loss verification functions within the SBA field offices, keeps the loss verification training manual and repair/replacement cost allowances up to date with current industry standards, reviews and recommends loss verification policy changes, performs quality assurance reviews on the initial inspection process, and assures the field staff are following SBA policies and procedures. Mitravich has worked as a loss verifier for 11 years, working numerous disasters and performing thousands of onsite inspections and inspection reviews.

In recent weeks thousands have experienced disaster first-hand, from hurricanes and heavy rains to floods, wind and fire. After a disaster hits, homeowners and businesses can face many challenges. This month’s web chat will focus on what homeowners and businesses need to know when reconstructing and rebuilding after a disaster, as well as what can be done to prepare before a disaster strikes.

Chat participants can get answers to questions such as how to select a credible contractor, what questions to ask when their property damage is assessed, or on what do to if just dealing with water damage.

Join Phae Howard and Michael Mitravich as they address the topics of structural mitigation, rebuilding and preparedness. Chat participants can post their questions below:

Chat Transcript

 
From:
michelle genovese
Location:
boston, ma
 

I'm happy to join you today for the SBA's Web chat and we welcome everyone joining us.  Home improvement and home repair contractor fraud is a big problem.  Therefore, it is the mission of our nonprofit to educate homeowners BEFORE they begin a home repair project.  We believe it is not only critical, but urgent that homeowners learn how to protect themselves.  There are wonderful contractors out there and we appreciate them.  We just want to help you avoid losing your hard earned money. Phae

 
From:
michelle genovese
Location:
boston, ma
 
Question:
Can a SBA damage assesment be used for reporting casulty losses to the IRS?
Reply:
Hi Michelle, You would have to refer to the IRS.GOV website for the answer to that.
 
From:
Carol
Location:
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
 
Question:
Can I apply for this online?
Reply:
Hi Carol, You can apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 which is the FEMA registration hotline.
 
From:
John Wessells
Location:
Otego, NY
 
Question:
I received help in the 2006 flood. Am I eleigble to apply again for help?
Reply:
John, You may apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
Sergio Fernandez
Location:
West Palm Beach, FL
 
Question:
I'm interested in knowing what are some business best practices when it comes to disaster recovery. Is there a guideline I can follow?
Reply:
Sergio, The fist thing you want to do is make sure your family is safe. Then make sure you aren't near any gas leaks or downed power lines, etc. I suggest then contacting your insurance agent and making them aware you have damage. If it is a Federal declared disaster, you want to register with FEMA immediately. Take pictures if you can and beware of contractors rushing you to use their services. Be sure to have an inventory of everything in your home and keep it off site so if something happens, you have a record of everything you lost. Good luck and stay safe!
 
From:
JACQUES PIERRE
Location:
RAHWAY, NEW JERSEY
 
Question:
I WOULD TO APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE
Reply:
You may apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
Steve
Location:
Roseville, CA
 
Question:
is that the number to call for all applications or is that number dedicated to the situation in Texas?
Reply:
Hi Steve, That is FEMA's nationwide registration center's phone number and they can provide information on all declared disaster areas.
 
From:
Anastasia Lederhausen
Location:
Destin, fl
 
Question:
what questions should I ask the person assessing the damages?
Reply:
Anastasia, if an assessment is being made by your insurance company, ask them to explain the process to you, what damage they see, etc. Just ask as many questions as you need to understand what is going on. Visit www.ncphif.org for more information on questions to ask. Good luck! Phae
 
From:
carla bradberry
Location:
east orange, nj
 
Question:
my basement was flooded and it destroyed all around the baseboard causing the sheetrock to open into huge holes all now the walls have to be replaced,also one of the rooms floor was wood its starting toswell up and have mold in side.
Reply:
Hi Carla, You may apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
M. Plummer
Location:
Washington, DC
 
Question:
Can I qualify for a disaster loan if I have been charged and or convicted of identity theft? What about other feonly charges, does that disqualify me from a loan?
Reply:
Hello M. Plummer. Every circumstance is different in qualifying. You may apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
Maya
Location:
Seaboard, Nc
 
Question:
I had small damage to my home during the storm. There are some things such as broken windows and door frame that need to be replaced. unfortuanately at the time I didn't have homeowners insurance. Am I eligible for a loan?
Reply:
Maya, Sorry to hear about the damages to your property, please apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline they will be able to help you with your next steps
 
From:
GREG FAULKNER
Location:
BUFORD, GA
 
Question:
WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS FOR OBTAINING A LOAN, OR GRANT DURING A HURRICANE, IN PARTICULAR, HURRICANE IRENE? FOLLOW, WHO CAN BE CONTACTED TO OBTAIN EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG? OH, IF YOU HAVE APPLIED, TO WHOM SHOULD YOU APPLY FOR RECONSIDERATION? REGARDS, GREG FAULKNER 678-765-2452,OFC 678-778-0728 c gfaulk12003@yahoo.com
Reply:
Hi Greg, Everyone needs to register with FEMA to begin the recovery process their registration number is 1-800-621-3362. They will also be able to direct you to the appropriate agencies to help in your recovery.
 
From:
paulette bush
Location:
harvey, louisiana
 
Question:
My home was impacted by tropical storm Iream, idonot have wind and fail on my home because i cannot afford it is there a grant that can help me.
Reply:
Hi Paulette, To determine what assistance is available to you please call 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
Steve
Location:
Roseville, CA
 
Question:
this is rediculous. Same questions and answers are appearing over and over again. What a waste of time.
Reply:
Steve, my friend, we are waiting on a new question from you! (smile) We're glad you are hanging in there with us! Phae
 
From:
anita Herring
Location:
teachey, N.C.
 
Question:
I dont have any homeowner insurance, I was wonder how could I get in touch with a Fema representitive to he repair my home or to get a form?
Reply:
Anita, A FEMA representative can be contacted at 1-800-621-3362 this is the FEMA Hotline.
 
From:
M Mitchell
Location:
Huntington, WV
 
Question:
If I have damages from the disaster and contractors are knocking on my door what do I do.
Reply:
I would be very cautious of any contractor who is soliciting. I would pick your own contractor. I wouldn't let a contractor pick me. Go to www.ncphif.org for free and valuable information on how to protect yourself. And DON'T GIVE THEM ANY MONEY UP FRONT!!! And don't sign anything you don't understand. And don't let anyone rush you into hiring them.
 
From:
michelle genovese
Location:
boston, ma
 

Before you hire a home improvement or home repair contractor, go to www.ncphif.org for valuable and free information on what to do before, during and after your project.  Many thanks to the SBA and to you for your participation!  Phae Howard