ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's been 30 days since South Georgia received the federal disaster declaration, and so far assistance approved for storm survivors nears $8 million.
FEMA officials reported that since the January storms hit South Georgia, their survivor assistance teams have visited 2,363 homes that were damaged.
Their contract housing inspectors verified disaster damage to 2,877 properties in the designated counties.
Now they say federal assistance dollars are on the way.
"About $8 million in federal assistance has been approved for tornado survivors in Southwest Georgia, $3 million in FEMA individual assistance," explained FEMA spokesperson John Mills. "That's grant money to homeowners and renters that does not have to be repaid. An additional $5 million has been approved by the SBA in low interest disaster loans, for homeowners, renters and businesses in Georgia."
On Thursday at 7 p.m. the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Worth County will become a Small Business Administration disaster loan outreach center.
FEMA also wants to make sure your home is ready to withstand any future storms.
Officials are recommending that people install and maintain storm shutters.
The shutters protect all exposed windows from flying debris and wind-borne missiles.
They also wants people to install straps and braces to insure the foundation of the home is solid enough to withstand strong winds.
And FEMA encourages residents to get their homes inspected before a disaster.
"If Albany was not called the Good Life City, we would be called the tree city. So, in order to do that you need to make sure that you try to rebuild or repair your life and your homes up and your property to the present standards that it was, so that you can get back to your normal way of living," said FEMA Specialist Troy Jackson.
They also encourage people that want to replant damaged trees, to make sure they're planted 20 to 30 feet away from their homes.