Shelter assistance deadline extended, EMA official says
by James Phillips
Jun 23, 2011 | 2862 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker County residents hoping to get help in building safe rooms or storm shelters in their homes now have more time to apply for the assistance.

Johnny Burnette, the county’s Emergency Management Agency director, said the application period, which was scheduled to end June 24, has been extended indefinitely.

“We still want people to get us their information as soon as possible, but we wanted to get rid of the deadline for now to give more people the opportunity to get help,” he said.

State officials told Burnette this week that Walker County was the first county to send a letter of intent for the shelter assistance.

“This is supposed to be first-come, first-serve,” Burnette said. “If that’s the case, I feel good about us getting a lot of help.”

Burnette said about 400 applications have been taken by Walker County EMA so far. He said those applicants aren’t completely finished with the process until they’ve filled out a new short-form application.

“We need anyone who has applied so far to contact us and fill out the short-form application,” he said. “It only takes a couple of minutes.”

New applicants must also fill out the short-form application as well as provide Walker County EMA with two sets of three photographs of their property taken from three different angles, two copies of their deed and a scale map and aerial photo of the property, which Burnette said can be obtained at the Walker County Revenue Commissioner’s Office.

Applications can be dropped off at or mailed to Walker County EMA, 16781 Highway 69 South, Jasper, AL, 35501. For questions concerning the application process, call 205-384-7233.

The amount given to individuals for a home safe room or shelter will depend on the county, which will have to give clearance to each project. Burnette said the amount will probably depend on how much the county gets and how many people apply.

According to FEMA, the cost of constructing an 8-foot by 8-foot safe room which can double as a master closet, bathroom or utility room inside a new home or small business can range from $6,300 to $8,300. The information also suggests building a safe room in an existing home is generally more expensive.