Jewel Lake homeowners happy after FEMA provides relief for quake damage

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Jewel Lake area homeowners hit hard by the Nov. 30 earthquake sighed in relief when FEMA announced it will cover up to $34,900 for homes with foundation damage.

Sand Lake resident Matt Robison sits between two diagonal support beams beneath his home -- they're supposed to be straight.

"By getting the federal and state help, that definitely helps guarantee that this will be taken care of correctly," Matt Robison said from the crawlspace of his Sand Lake home on Monday.

At first glance, it doesn't take an engineer to see that something is wrong in Robison's crawlspace. The support beams, which are supposed to be vertical, are holding up his home at odd angles, and the concrete foundation blocks, which are supposed to be level, are laying in puddles of muddy water perched at 45 degree angles.

Matt and his wife Mandy Robison are determined not to let their home sink into that muddy mess, and FEMA's nearly $35,000 potential contribution to the damage may make that a reality. That news could come as a life boat to some families in Matt's Sand Lake neighborhood who have nearly given up hope on their homes.

"This could be the difference between them walking away from their house or them fixing it," Matt said.

The main caveat here is homeowners can only receive a total of $34,900 between both state and federal relief, according to state officials. FEMA only makes up the difference left after any relief you may have already received up to $34,900.

If you filed a claim for federal disaster relief and disagree with the amount that FEMA agreed to contribute, here's what you need to do, according to FEMA:

- Send a signed letter of disagreement explaining the reason for the appeal;
- The appeal must be made within 60 days of receiving FEMA's disaster determination letter;
- If you for instance found damage after the snow and ice melted, but it's been more than 60 days since FEMA told you how much they'd pay, include in your letter a contractor's estimate of the damage.

All of this information should be mailed to the FEMA National Processing Service Center at P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.

There are also three available disaster recovery centers where you can go if you need help filing an appeal, located at:
- University of Alaska Annex at University Center Mall
- Christ First United Methodist Church in Wasilla
- Community Covenant Church in Eagle River

Disaster recovery centers are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

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