Rural News

Jennifer Emerling / There Is More Work To Be Done

Hurricane Idalia Disaster Guide

Hurricane Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend coast as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday, August 31, 2023, downgraded to a tropical storm when reaching the Carolinas, and went out to the Atlantic Ocean. Currently, over 210,000 households and businesses are without power. Many areas are experiencing flooding, downed trees, and major destruction to homes and buildings. At this time, only one death is confirmed as caused by a fallen tree.

HAC offers the following resources with information for nonprofits and communities dealing with loss and damage from Hurricane Idalia: Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster site and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.

If you are in need of emergency, transient housing, you can text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find where the shelter closest to you is located.


Please keep in mind the following safety protocols for hurricanes and flooding:

  • Only call 911 if you have an immediate need for medical attention or evacuation assistance.
  • If you can’t get through to 911 on first try, keep calling.
  • DO NOT DRIVE through high water and DO NOT DRIVE AROUND BARRICADES! Just 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • DO NOT WALK through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down.
  • If your home floods, STAY THERE. You are safer at home than trying to navigate flooded streets on foot.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is NOT MOVING, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter MOVING water.
  • STAY AWAY from streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • MOVE important items – especially important documents like insurance policies – to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • DISCONNECT electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.

This flooding event is a reminder that all residents in this area should carry flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at or call 1-888-379-9531. Please keep in mind that new insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.

If your home has experienced damage, remember to check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams, or other damage. It may be safest to ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter. Do not force jammed doors open, as they may be providing needed support to the rest of the home. Sniff for gas to ensure there are no natural or propane gas leaks. If you do have a propane tank system, make sure to turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system before you use it again. Check floors and ceilings to ensure they are not sagging from water damage. This can be especially hazardous. Take photographs of any damage as you may need them for insurance claims or FEMA claims later on.


Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.
Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
For hearing impaired callers only:
1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)
Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.



Florida Division of Emergency Management

2555 Shumard Oak Blvd.

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2100

Phone: (850) 815-4000



Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency

935 United Ave. SE

Atlanta, GA 30316-0055

Phone: (404) 635-7200


North Carolina

North Carolina Emergency Management

Phone: 919-825-2500


South Carolina

South Carolina Emergency Management Division

Phone: (803) 737-8500




Florida Housing Finance Corporation

227 N Bronough Street, Suite 5000

Tallahassee, FL 32301-1367

Phone: (850) 488-4197



Georgia Department of Community Affairs / Georgia Housing and Finance Authority

60 Executive Park South NE

Atlanta, GA 30329-2231

Phone: (404) 679-4940


North Carolina

North Carolina Housing Finance Agency

3508 Bush Street

Raleigh, NC 27609-7509

Phone: (919) 877-5700


South Carolina

South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority

300 Outlet Pointe Boulevard, Suite C

Columbia, SC 29210

Phone: (803) 896-9001

Fax: (803) 551-4876




Jacksonville Field Office

Charles E. Bennett Federal Building

400 W. Bay Street, Suite 1015

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: (904) 232-2627

Director: Alesia Scott-Ford


Miami Field Office

Brickell Plaza Federal Building

909 SE First Avenue, Room 500

Miami, FL 33131-3028

Phone: (305) 536-4456
Director: Luis M. Rolle



Atlanta Regional Office

Five Points Plaza Building

40 Marietta Street

Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: (404) 331-5136

Regional Administrator: José Alvarez, Regional Administrator

Phone: (678) 732-2200


North Carolina

Greensboro Field Office

Asheville Building

1500 Pinecroft Road, Suite 401

Greensboro, NC 27407

Phone: (336) 547-4000

Director- Lorenzo Claxton


South Carolina

Columbia Field Office

Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Strom Thurmond Federal Building

1835 Assembly Street, 13th Floor

Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 765-5592

Director- Kristine Foye




4500 NW 27th Avenue

Suite D-2

Gainesville, FL 32606
Phone: (352) 338-3400

Director: Lakeisha Hood



Stephens Federal Building

355 E. Hancock Avenue, Stop 300

Athens, GA 30601-2768

Phone: (706) 546-2162

Director: Reggie Taylor


North Carolina

4405 Bland Road, Suite 260

Raleigh, NC 27609

Phone: (919) 873-2000

Director: Reginal Speight


South Carolina

Strom Thurmond Federal Building

1835 Assembly Street, Room 1007

Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 765-5163

Director: Dr. Saundra Glover