Disaster Recovery Centers now open

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the SC Emergency Management Division have opened two sites to help Beaufort County residents with recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

The Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are established as one-stop shops to assist people applying for individual assistance through FEMA. Specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies are on hand at both DRCs to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available.

The DRCs are located at:

• Burton Wells Recreation Center, 1 Middleton Recreation Drive in Beaufort. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday

• Hilton Head Island Town Hall, 1 Town Center Court. This center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

In other Hurricane Matthew recovery news:

• FEMA has approved Beaufort County’s request for private property debris removal from private roads and rights-of-way under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.

“This approval is exceptional news for Beaufort County,” said Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville. “Without FEMA’s assistance, we would be looking at a bill of more than $10 million.”

The terms of FEMA’s approval require the county to provide a full roster of all private roads it enters to remove debris, and to receive completed right-of-entry documentation.

Debris from vacant lots, concrete slabs and commercial properties and their parking lots are not approved for private property debris removal under the Public Assistance Program.

•  The four Beaufort County Convenience Centers – Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Shanklin and St. Helena – have resumed allowing trailers of non-storm generated debris.

Trailers containing construction debris (Class 2) can be no larger than 5-by-8 feet. Centers are not taking Class 1 waste (yard debris).

Residents should continue to sort yard debris (Class 1) and storm-generated construction debris (Class 2) into separate piles and leave them on the right-of-way at their residence. Debris in biodegradable paper bags will also be picked up.

• Contractors working to move storm-generated debris are not allowed to dump processed material from private property onto the right-of-way. Any such debris that has been processed or grinded into mulch needs to be delivered to an approved landfill or processing facility for disposal at the owner’s expense.

“The law regulates the disposal of such waste to protect the health of our residents,” said Jim Minor, Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling director/debris manager. “We expect and encourage all contractors to ensure that they are following state laws and guidelines.”

• Funds are still needed to help victims of the hurricane.

United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC) has taken an additional measure to provide assistance to individuals affected by allocating an additional $100,000 from its endowment fund to current UWLC partner agencies providing emergency assistance for basic needs in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

“Since Hurricane Matthew, we have seen the needs in our community increase exponentially,” said Tina Lamb Gentry, president & CEO, United Way of the Lowcountry. “People who have never requested assistance in the past are now in need, and as you can imagine, this has put a strain on our front-line partner agencies.”

Visit www.uwlowcountry.org.