Tornado Relief Resources

UPDATED INFORMATION

IMPORTANT: REGISTERING FOR DISASTER RELIEF WITH FEMA According to SBA, people and businesses who registered for assistance at the Drop-In Centers are only registered with the state and their info will not transfer to FEMA or the SBA. Those seeking assistance MUST REGISTER DIRECTLY with FEMA via telephone, (800) 621-FEMA (3362), or via the web, www.fema.gov. (Although businesses do not technically have to register with FEMA there could be additional local and state programs that may require a FEMA registration number. It is our strong recommendation that businesses register with FEMA as additional benefit programs may become available.)

UNITED WAY GIFT CARD DISTRIBUTION SITES

United Way has posted these additional dates and times for the distribution of Gift Cards that have been collected for those who need assistance.

Tuesday, June 21, Southbridge Community Center, 153 Chestnut St., from 6-8pm

Wednesday, June 22, Sturbridge Federated Church, 8 Maple St. from 6-8pm

Thursday, June 23, Southbridge Meet & Greet, Southbridge Community Center, 153 Chestnut St., from 6-8pm

Please call (508) 765-5491 if these times are not convenient for your schedule. An alternate pick up time will be arranged. Please pass this on. Thank you!

SOUTHBRIDGE DISASTER RELIEF COMMUNITY MEETING
Southbridge Disaster Relief Community Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 21, from 6-8pm at the Southbridge Community Center (153 Chestnut St.) to provide information to residents of Southbridge who were affected by the June 1 tornadoes. FEMA, town officials, and local support organizations will be on hand to provide information regarding services available.

UPCOMING TORNADO RELIEF BENEFITS – Thank you for supporting these events!

Salem Cross Inn Tornado Relief Donation: Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield will donate 15% of their food sales on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 21, 22, 23 and 28, 29, 30 to the Central Mass South Chamber’s Tornado Relief Fund. This applies to dining at the Hexmark Tavern, in the Main Dining Room, and for outdoor grilling which is offered Wednesday and Thursday evenings throughout the summer (weather permitting). Outdoor grilling begins for the season on Wednesday, June 22. Take a step back in time and experience things as they should be while you make a donation to help those affected by the tornado. *Reservations Appreciated.* Reach Salem Cross Inn by phone at 508-867-2345 or visit online at www.salemcrossinn.com

Fundraising Dinner for Tornado Relief at OSV: Old Sturbridge Village will host a special fund-raising dinner to benefit area victims of the recent tornadoes that destroyed many area homes and businesses. The dinner will be held from 4:0

—–

Not in my backyard took on a different meaning for us last week when many friends and neighboring towns were hit with a rare occurrence in our area – a tornado.

At this time of devastation for so many of our friends and neighbors, we are grateful that most lives were spared. In the aftermath some have suffered just minor damage, but some have lost nearly everything.

At times like these, we remind ourselves, residents and business owners alike, that we are all one community and that we are in this together.

As a leading business organization we are part of your community and want to help. The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has compiled this list of resources. While we have done our best to be inclusive, we realize that there are additional resources that may have been missed. If you need assistance locating a resource, please contact us at 508.753.2924. Save this valuable tool to help direct those in need and for those who want to help.

RESOURCES

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts established this website which contains information for all Tornado Recovery-related issues: www.mass.gov/stormrecovery

Visit mass.gov to locate their disaster guide brochure

For comprehensive tornado relief effort information contact the Mass 211 call center and information referral line by dialing 211 or online by visiting: www.mass211help.org/

Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you can find or offer help in your community.

Local Massachusetts Storm Assistance Centers

Individuals and families impacted by the storms are encouraged to visit one of three new Massachusetts Storm Assistance Centers listed below. Representatives from state agencies will be on site in all three communities and will help area residents meet their immediate health, human service, housing and employment needs.

Southbridge
Department of Transitional Assistance Office
1 North Street, Southbridge, PH: 508-765-2400
CITY OF SOUTHBRIDGE WEBSITE

Monson / Palmer
Department of Developmental Service Central/West Regional Office
171 State Avenue, Palmer, PH: 413-283-3411 or 1-800-323-3123
TOWN OF PALMER WEBSITE
TOWN OF MONSON WEBSITE

Springfield
Department of Transitional Assistance Office
95 Liberty Street, Springfield, PH: 413-858-1000
CITY OF SPRINGFIELD WEBSITE

Mass State Consumer Affairs & Insurance Hotline: The Division of Insurance has activated its consumer hotline number: 617-521-7777 to handle any calls from homeowners seeking assistance.

FEMA ASSISTANCE

HOME OWNERS (NOT YET AVAILABLE – UNTIL FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARED)
• FEMA provides assistance with housing needs and non-housing needs.
• Money is available to rent temporary housing, to repair damage to primary residences that is not covered by insurance, and to replace a primary residence destroyed by the disaster that is not covered by insurance.
• Money is also available to mitigate serious needs caused by the disaster. Assistance with medical and dental costs, funeral and burial costs, clothing, tools, heating fuel, clean-up items, vehicle repair, and moving and storage expenses associated with the disaster may be available.

SOLE PROPRIETORS (NOT YET AVAILABLE – UNTIL FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARED)
May be available for sole proprietors who have disaster-related damage to vehicles or tools needed for their jobs.

For more information call 1-800-632-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585)

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

• Provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a presidentially declared major disaster.

• Self-employed persons who cannot work as a result of the disaster can also apply for benefits.

For more information call 1-877-872-5627 (TTY 1-877-889-5627)

Other valuable websites
www.mass.gov/doi (Division of Insurance)
www.mass.gov/mema (MEMA)
www.redcross.org (Red Cross of Central and Western Mass)
www.fema.gov (FEMA)

How You Can Help

  • Contact the Red Cross of Central and Western Mass Central Massachusetts 24 hour phone: 508-595-3700 www.redcross.org (Red Cross of Central and Western Mass)
  • Call 211 to volunteer
  • United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge & Charlton has established a Disaster Relief Fund to assist residents. Contact them at 508-765-5491, www.unitedwayssc.org/
  • Make a financial donation to the Massachusetts Statewide Disaster Relief Fund, hosted by the United Way of Tri-County at www.unitedwaytri-county.org/disaster or PH: 888-811-3291
  • Many towns affected by the storm have information in the town website. “Google” your community to find their website.
  • Volunteer: Check in at the designated emergency shelters or churches in each town or call 211
  • Central Mass South Chamber of Commerce is coordinating work and has various resources listed at: www.cmschamber.org (click on TORNADO ASSISTANCE) or 508-347-2761
  • Many banks, TV and radio stations have also set up funds, watch for information on how you can help.
  • Remember, if you are unable to help at this time there will be an ongoing need.

Disaster Hints and Tips from Insurance Experts

WHAT TO DO

  • Call your insurance agent as soon as possible
  • Take pictures of actual AND suspected damage (include the date information)
  • Keep receipts of all expenses related to loss and prevention action steps
  • Call authorities and notify them of any public safety issues, downed lines, natural gas smells, etc.
  • Check on the elderly, dependent neighbors, etc. who may be in need of assistance
  • Avoid standing wires and water that could be electrified or otherwise dangerous
  • Take emergency precautions to prevent further damage from subsequent rain, wind, tornado or other impending perils

While important to make a claim as soon as possible, emergency repairs and prevention of further damage is not only recommended, but essential. For example, if there is a hole in roof – install an emergency tarp to prevent further rainwater damage in subsequent hours/days.

Many policies may outline policyholder responsibilities such as: The policyholder shall protect the property from further damage after a loss. Many policies stipulate that if coverage is granted, reimbursement for emergency action to protect the property will be made to the policyholder

WHAT NOT TO DO

  • DO NOT attempt repairs yourself
  • DO NOT climb up on roof or other surface to remove a tree or any other items
  • DO NOT take action that puts you and others in harms way
  • DO NOT start a generator indoors or in a closed garage
  • DO NOT attempt to run, isolate, plug-in, ignite or otherwise operate systems, equipment or appliances that are not functioning
  • DO NOT attempt to repair electrical or other power sources

Important things to know about Homeowners Insurance

  • Your insurance company should provide you with a free adjuster. Hiring a public adjuster may cost you between 15%-30% of your recovery.
  • Most standard homeowner policies cover damage from windstorms including tornadoes. For most, you will also pay an out of pocket deductible that should be listed in your policy.
  • Be aware of which type of policy you have and the different amounts of coverage:
  1. Actual Cash Value: An actual cash value policy will cover the cost to replace an item or structure, minus depreciation.
  2. Replacement Cost: Replacement cost policies cover the amount to repair or replace the damaged property using materials of like kind and quality without depreciation (usually with a monetary cap).
  3. Guaranteed Replacement Cost: These policies cover the amount to repair or replace the damaged property, no matter what the cost (usually expensive, most homes are not covered by them).

Be aware of the risk of filing a claim for small items; insurers sometime will refuse to renew a policy if you submit a claim. It is also possible that no other carrier in the voluntary market will insure you if you file a claim, forcing you into the FAIR plan – an option for consumers who cannot obtain homeowner’s coverage in the voluntary market – usually at a higher rate.

Tree Removal Coverage

  • Most policies cover tree removal that has hit a covered structure (subject to limits and deductibles) or block access to your driveway. Most policies do not cover tree removal that does not hit a covered structure.

Coverage of Damaged Trees / Plants

  • Unless specifically stated, there is no coverage for loss of trees, shrubs and other plants.

Coverage of Water Damage from Leakage

  • Most homeowner policies cover water damage depending on the cause and age of the leak including interior damage such as stained ceilings.

Food Spoilage Coverage

  • Average policies do not cover this peril but some “enhancement” packages may offer limited coverage, subject to a deductible.

Flood / Ground Water Coverage

  • There is no coverage for standing, flood or otherwise ground-water in a Massachusetts Homeowners policy. Flood policies are generated separately and are at an additional cost.
  • Some coverage may available for water damage due to back-up of sewer or sump-pump overflow (including septic) if there is an enhancement package.

Important things to know about Auto Insurance

  • Not all auto insurance policies will cover damage to your vehicle from a tornado. Damage will be covered if you have included comprehensive coverage in your policy.  Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car if it is damaged by anything outside of an accident, such as fallen trees and debris damage.
  • Glass damage is covered under comprehensive insurance. Some policies do not require a deductible for glass; however, others include a separate glass deductible and is separate from the comprehensive deductible.
  • Like homeowners insurance, be aware that insurance companies may drop your coverage or raise your rates if you file a claim, even if the damage was not your fault.
  • If you experience damage to your home or vehicle, report the loss to your agent or insurer as soon as possible. If you need assistance in determining whether you have applicable insurance coverage, or if you believe your agent or insurance company misrepresented to you the extent of your coverage or the availability of insurance protections, you can contact Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400.

Tips to Select a Home Improvement Contractors

  • Make sure that the person you are dealing with is a licensed contractor affiliated with a legitimate business. You can verify this at: http://db.state.ma.us/homeimprovement/licenseelist.asp.
  • Ask for references—especially names of satisfied customers who can tell you about the business or ask a neighbor, friend or co-worker for the name of a business they have used.
  • Get estimates from more than one contractor and compare prices.
  • Check for a history of complaints with the Attorney General’s Office: 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online at www.mass.gov/ago/consumercomplaint and the Better Business Bureau Consumer Hotline: 866-566-9222 or www.central-westernma.bbb.org/
  • Obtain a written contract or estimate describing the work to be done, the price and estimated date of completion.
  • Do not pay more than one third the cost of the project at the inception of the contract, with another third due half way through the project and the balance paid when the work is completed to your satisfaction.
  • Be wary of a contractor who demands full payment up front. A reputable contractor should allow you to pay in full at the completion of the job.
  • Massachusetts residents in need of emergency assistance are urged to contact the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, at 508-820-2000, or 800-982-6846.

Business Resources

Administrator Mills gave an overview of the types of SBA assistance available for homeowners, renters, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in the areas affected by the tornados. SBA is on the ground and coordinating with FEMA.

Hotline for loan information: 1-800-659-2955 (M-F 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-5:30pm), disastercustomerservices@sba.gov

Applicants may receive assistance with the required forms online, over the phone, or in person at an SBA site.

Types of Disaster Loans (can also be found through sba.gov)

Home and Personal Property Loans

Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc. damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. These are low-interest, 30 yr loans up to $2 million. Applications are expected to be processed within 10 days. Applicants who do not meet repayment guidelines will be automatically connected to FEMA to see if other sources of help are appropriate.

Business Physical Disaster Loans

Any business or private, nonprofit organization that is located in a declared disaster area and has incurred damage during the disaster may apply for a loan to help replace damaged property or restore it to the condition it was in before the disaster. These are low-interest, 30 yr loans up to $2 million.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Small businesses and private nonprofit organizations located in the area of the disaster that have suffered economic damages (regardless of actual physical damage) may apply for this type of loan to make up the difference in typical revenue. This provides the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. These are low-interest, 30 year loans up to $2 million.

WORCESTER CARES! – 3 EASY WAYS TO GIVE!

IN PERSON!
Come to one (or both) of these events and give in person! Only cash or check donations will be accepted. Absolutely no donations of material items will be accepted.

ON-LINE!
Simply go to www.redcrosscwm.org and make your donation by credit card!

TEXT!
Just text RED CROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation!

Worcester Cares MEDIA-THON

Friday, June 17 from  6 am – 6 pm

Worcester’s favorite on-air personalities from all our local radio & television stations will broadcast live all day from five easy DONATION DROP-OFF LOCATIONS:

Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field / College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street, Worcester
6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Featuring WTAG personalities Jim Polito, Jordan Levy and more!

Price Chopper / East Mountain Street
72 Pullman Street, Worcester, MA 01606
6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Featuring WSRS personalities Greg Byrne & Jackie Brush and more!

Commerce Bank & Trust
993 Grafton Street, Worcester, MA 01604

6:00 am – 6:00 pm

Featuring WCRN’s Hank Stolz and other personalities!

DCU Center
Major Taylor Boulevard Entrance, Worcester, MA 01608
6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Featuring 100 FM “The Pike” and 98.9 ORC FM personalities Frank Foley, Cruisin’ Bruce Palmer and more!

Lincoln Plaza Shopping Center
525 Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA 01605

6:00 am – 6:00 pm

Featuring WXLO personalities Jen Carter & Steve Donovan, and more!

Charter TV3 - live simulcast of WTAG’s Jim Polito Show and Jordan Levy Show!

If you can’t make it: DONATE on-line at www.redcrosscwm.org or text: REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 gift to assist Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Worcester Cares: FAMILY FUN NIGHT at the Worcester Tornadoes

Saturday, June 18 at 5:30 pm

Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field / College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street, Worcester, MA

Cheer on our home team the Worcester Tornadoes and enjoy both a pregame celebration and a night that will end with a bang as we salute our neighbors in need with a FIREWORKS DISPLAY! Tickets are $15 for general admission seating and ALL PROCEEDS will go to the American Red Cross.

Visit www.worcestertornadoes.com to get your tickets today!


 
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