Seek help with financial difficulties following Hurricane Irene

There are sources of assistance for families dealing with costly storm damage to their homes. Know where to look for help and know your rights should you find yourself faced with home foreclosure in the aftermath of the storm.

First, check homeowners’ and renters’ policies to determine what is covered in the event of disaster. Be aware that damage from flooding is not covered in most homeowners’ policies.

Those living in counties that have been designated for federal emergency assistance are eligible for different types of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More information is available on the web:

• N.C. counties declared eligible for emergency disaster assistance,

• Assistance available from FEMA,

• More information on recovery programs on the Extension Disaster Education Network site:

In the event you fall behind on any payments, contact creditors as early as possible. Explain the reason that you are unable to make payments and work with creditors to develop a plan for paying the debt. More information on talking with creditors is available on this N.C. Cooperative Extension fact sheet, Talking with Your Creditors:

To prevent foreclosure on your home, contact your lender as soon as you find you cannot make a payment. Read and respond to all letters from your lender. Seek help from a reputable credit counselor or a government agency like the Department of Housing and Urban Development. More information is available from N.C. Cooperative Extension’s fact sheet, Tips to Prevent Home Foreclosure,

Resources for assistance for veterans, older adults and persons with disabilities can be found on North Carolina’s careLINK website:

For more information about cleaning up after a flood, contact your county center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, or visit the website

–Written by Natalie Hampton, 919.513.3128,

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