Project St. Bernard offers free seminars, tips for tornado survivors to help in their recovery efforts

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) — A Louisiana organization that started after Hurricane Katrina is holding free seminars in Bowling Green for tornado survivors.

Project St. Bernard is currently in town providing counseling and training to survivors on navigating FEMA disaster assistance and relief. Some of the topics for Thursday’s seminar included filing an insurance claim, obtaining evidence and documents from contractors, and teaching attendees a bit about FEMA’s claims process.

“SBP works across the United States. We are also in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the process of recovering a volcano,” said Andy Stofle, Executive Director of SBP, “So we have faced many disasters, from hurricanes to tornadoes. You know, in 2011 we were actually responding to the Joplin, Missouri tornado, which, you know, was supposed to be an eight-year government recovery process.”

“What we want to do is educate homeowners, business owners and individuals in the community who have been affected so that they make smart decisions to get multiple estimates, so they can compare apples with apples on estimates, okay, get details of bids so you can see how much you’re paying for materials and labor,” Stofle said, “and you can compare that across multiple contractors for sure you get a fair quote, right.

One of the main things the organization insisted on Thursday was that everyone in attendance be their own advocate when it comes to the things they need.

“It’s a very complex process. So you just need to know that a no doesn’t mean no, when dealing with FEMA it means Hey, I just need to provide us with more documentation. And I have to reapply, I need to continually have that conversation,” he said.

For anyone who missed the meeting, another will be held Friday at the Neighborhood and Community Services Building at 701 E. Main Ave, first floor in the Community Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“So we offer this training everywhere from Dresden, Tennessee, to Bowling Green, there are a lot of communities to cover that were in the affected area,” he said, “And what I would like, is every mayor it’s from one of these communities executive judge anyone would contact SBP and just let us know that hey I want this training for my constituents so we can get them on the road of recovery.

For more information about SBP, visit their website at sbpusa.org/. If you have questions or need to apply for disaster assistance, call 1-800-621-3362 or the Tornado Survivor Hotline 877-782-4219.

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