LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) — A LaGrange subdivision that was rocked by E-F 2 tornado on Jan. 12 continues to dig out.
And because Troup County has been designated a Federal Disaster Area, two federal agencies are now on the ground offering help.
As blue tarps and damage are still evident wherever you look on LaGrange’s east side, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are working to help those in need.
There are seven Georgia counties — Troup, Meriwether, Butts, Henry, Jasper, Newton and Spalding — that are eligible for the most federal help.
So far, FEMA has received about 400 applications in Georgia, almost half of those — 182 — have come from heavily hit Troup, FEMA reports.
And for residents like Dayle Pitts being able to go face-to-face with FEMA residents is critical.
“For me the process has been where to find FEMA and I have reached out to different organizations like the police department, fire department,” Pitts said. “And for me, personally, it has been like chasing a ghost until I found you guys here.”
FEMA was going door to door in Baldwin Park and Lexington Park, getting on the ground in LaGrange over the weekend.
“Rental assistance and home repair is some of the aid we have available for the survivors,” said Maria Padron, a FEMA external affairs specialist.
And she is finding a need in Troup and Meriwether Counties.
“I find people need lodging and they lost all of their food because there was no electricity,” Padron said. “And they are just overwhelmed.”
They are also having to figure out the difference between FEMA, which offers grants, and the Small Business Administration that offers low-interest loans.
The SBA is on the ground in Troup County, too.
And it’s not just impacted businesses that can qualify.
“The purpose of the U.S. Small Business Administration is to provide assistance in the form of low-interest and long-term loans for individuals – homeowners or renters, businesses of all sizes, and non-profit organizations,” said Vivian Santos-Rodriguez, a public affairs Specialist for the SBA.
The FEMA and SBA officials will be on the ground in Troup County until mid-March.
For FEMA assistance call, 1-800-621-3362. The phone lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can also go to FEMA.com. You can also download the FEMA app. FEMA is looking at opening a Troup County office in the coming days.
For SBA assistance, the SBA has opened a LaGrange office through March 17 at 716 Glenn Robinson Drive.