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SUNRISE, Fla. (CBSMiami) — Nearly two weeks since Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida, a lot of people are just now trying to figure out if, and how, they can get help from the federal government.
There are 54 FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams in the state of Florida right now, including two in Broward County and about 6 in Miami-Dade. On Thursday, county leaders tried to reassure residents that they can feel safe sharing their information with FEMA workers.
CBS4’s Carey Codd caught up with one FEMA team walking the streets of Sunrise as they went door-to-door in an area where hundreds of people have already applied for FEMA assistance.
FEMA worker Greg Moore explained how their computer program drills down into areas where people might need help. He said lots of people are coming forward.
“What we’ve been finding is roof damage, requesting food, power out for more than a week, things like that,” he said.
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, more than 203-thousand people in Miami-Dade and nearly 114-thousand people in Broward have already applied for FEMA assistance.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief held a news conference Thursday afternoon to make sure Broward residents were aware that FEMA teams might be coming to their door to see if they need help.
“When Fema-contracted workers arrive at the home, they will display official photo identification,” Sharif said. “If the identification is not displayed, it is important to ask to see it. This helps to prevent fraud.”
FEMA said anyone from the agency who comes to your door will be wearing a clearly marked FEMA logo on their attire, and they will have a detailed badge with identification on it.
Also, Sharief said FEMA workers will never ask for money but they will ask for personal information like a social security number and a bank account, in case you’re going to be receiving government assistance.
“Part of that is for the convenience of the homeowner,” she said. “When they sustained the damage, FEMA is going to deposit the money from that claim directly into their account.”
For the FEMA crews in the field, the goal is to bring help to the people who need it.
“We try to go out and meet them at their place,” said Moore. “It makes it easier for them and we can reach a lot of people.”
If someone from FEMA knocks on your door and you want to verify, call 800-621-3362. If you need help from FEMA, go to: disasterassistance.gov.