Due to COVID-19 and the need to protect the safety and health of all Louisianians, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using the latest technology to help deliver its programs. The agency will be conducting virtual home inspections for Louisiana survivors in designated counties who sustained damage from the winter storms in February.
What to Expect After Applying for FEMA Assistance
After applying for FEMA assistance, uninsured or underinsured Louisianians in the 23 parishes designated for federal disaster assistance may have to schedule a virtual home inspection if they reported their homes are not safe, sanitary, functional or inaccessible.
Designated parishes include Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.
Applicants who self-reported during registration that they received only minimal damage and can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection. Instead, they will receive a letter from FEMA explaining that if they find significant disaster-caused damage to their home after they applied, they can call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) to request an inspection.
What to Expect During a Virtual Inspection
Inspectors will start the virtual inspection process by contacting the applicant by the telephone numbers listed in the application. The inspector will ask the applicant if he or she would like to perform the home inspection with video streaming using Apple FaceTime or Zoom Video Communications. FEMA inspectors are trained to help the applicant with downloading and signing-up to Zoom Video if necessary.
Applicants should let FEMA know if they need reasonable accommodations, including translation or American Sign Language interpreters. Applicants should provide a relay service number for a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel and make sure FEMA has that contact number in the application. If communication is through Zoom or FaceTime, the applicant may request an interpreter or captioning.
A household member, relative or friend may also assist in communicating with the inspector.
When available, the inspector will initiate the video streaming to the applicant’s device and ask questions about the type and extent of the damage sustained. If the video inspection is not available, the inspector will guide the applicant through a series of questions to help evaluate the damage.
During the video streaming, the applicant will have the opportunity to show the inspector their areas of concern.
For more information on the process, please watch the video below to see what to expect. Visit the FEMA YouTube page: FEMA Uses Technology to Conduct Inspections for Disaster Survivors - YouTube.
Based on existing eligibility criteria, FEMA may provide grants for rental assistance, home repairs and replacing certain essential personal property items.
While video streaming inspections are being conducted in a limited capacity, applicants who do not have the ability to participate with video through Zoom or Facetime will speak with inspectors by phone.
The inspector will guide the applicant through a series of questions to help evaluate the damage.
For the latest information on the Louisiana Winter Storm, visit Louisiana Severe Winter Storms (DR-4590-LA). Or, follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.