Recover: Assistance for Residents


Recovery image

Assistance varies depending on the severity and type of disaster. When Virginia is approved for what is commonly referred to as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) individual assistance, you may be eligible for grants and loans. Sometimes only federal low interest loans are available.

When no federal assistance at all is available, voluntary organizations and others step in to help with serious needs.

Housing Assistance

If you or your family have been displaced by a disaster the Department of Housing and Community Development may be able to help.

  • Sheltering (short-term)
  • Intermediate Housing provides an interim “bridge” between short-term sheltering and long-term reconstruction of permanent housing, allowing residents to resume normal life and economic activity until their homes are rebuilt or relocated.
  • Long-term Reconstruction and Relocation will coordinate local efforts with state and federal recovery programs that promote, incentivize, or directly provide for the permanent rehabilitation and reconstruction of destroyed and damaged housing, whenever feasible, and develop other new accessible permanent housing options.
  • Blight Abatement. Post-disaster, the Department of Code Compliance in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (Structural Safety and Damage Assessment Recovery Group) will monitor structural safety in reference to properties that are abandoned and/or which owners are unable or unwilling to repair/rebuild, and which are not up to code.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If there is a disaster, where can I go to get help?

The latest county emergency information is available on the Emergency Blog. Information is shared in real time and promotion of available county services. You may also wish to reference:

2. What disaster assistance is available to me?

Assistance varies on the severity and type of disaster. When Virginia is approved for what is commonly referred to as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) individual assistance, you may be eligible for grants and loans. Sometimes only federal low interest loans are available. When no federal assistance at all is available, voluntary organizations and others step in to help with serious needs.

Disaster assistance can come in a variety of forms to include, but not limited to, the following: emergency food, clothing, housing), financial assistance (living expenses, repairs and replacement), legal services and unemployment benefits.

StateRequesting Public Assistance (Commonwealth of Virginia)
FederalFederal Disaster Assistance Information (FEMA)

3. When can I get Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance?

FEMA assistance is dependent upon a disaster declaration. The Fairfax County Emergency Blog should list the current level of disaster declaration. The type of disaster declaration, impacts the financial assistance available. 

Once you have confirmed that Fairfax County has specifically been named a locality eligible for assistance, you can fill out the online survey to determine the forms of assistance for which you could be eligible. Your completed survey will also register you with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

It is important to document all damage to your property to the best of your ability; take many pictures and keep receipts. Submit damage information through the Disaster Damage Database. If you are eligible for assistance after a disaster, these documents will help make it easier to apply. 

If the President has issued a major disaster declaration for Fairfax County, you may be entitled to FEMA assistance (also called “individual assistance”).

If the President does not sign a disaster declaration, then a Small Business Administration (SBA) agency declaration may be granted and you may be eligible for a low-interest SBA loan.

4. How do the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) offer assistance?

If neither a disaster declaration nor a Small Business Administration (SBA) declaration is granted for Fairfax County, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) and non-government organizations may be the sole source of resources.  Refer to the following websites for information on organizations that can provide assistance in Fairfax County:

Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) connect faith-based and nonprofit agencies that respond during disaster and emergencies with local government agencies to better coordinate response and recovery during an event. To learn more about Northern Virginia Regional VOAD, contact novavoad@yahoo.com

If Fairfax County has been declared a local, state or federal disaster and you have tried unsuccessfully to pursue financial assistance for damages incurred as a result of the disaster, you may be eligible for assistance through the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund (VDRF). Contact Volunteer Fairfax’s Emergency Response Program at 703-246-3553 for more information about your eligibility.

5. How can I benefit from donations from generous residents if I am impacted by a disaster?

If you have specific needs after a disaster, please call 703-222-0880, TTY 703-803-7914 (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) or 703-691-2131, TTY 711 (after hours). The Volunteer Fairfax donations guide will also have information, including the location of any donations distribution centers. 

6. How do I prepare for the first 72 hours (3 days) after a disaster without services?

One of the best ways to be prepared is to be informed. The recommendations on the website www.ready.gov are intended to be the essential items every individual would need for the first 72 hours (or 3 days) after a disaster. Residents are encouraged to customize an emergency supply kit to accommodate their unique needs and to purchase renters and homeowners insurance. In addition, Congress mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas of high risk of flooding. 

Standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding.In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); the NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Fairfax County is a NFIP community.

7. Is my child’s school ready for a disaster?

Fairfax County Public Schools have a comprehensive website with preparedness and emergency response information. For information about your child’s school safety program, contact the school's principal.


Related Information



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