After a disaster, survivors may need assistance in recovering and getting their lives back to normal. There are a variety of local, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations that provide disaster assistance depending on the severity and magnitude of the event and the damage. In the days following a disaster, listen to instructions from local officials and monitor news sources for information on available programs. If you have questions or need help finding assistance, call 2-1-1 for further information.

Immediate Needs

The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other voluntary organizations, in coordination with government agencies, can and will provide immediate aid following a disaster. This aid can include:

  • Mass Care (Shelter and Food)
  • Medical Assistance
  • Animal Sheltering
  • Child Care
  • Clothing
  • Clean-up Assistance
  • Transportation
  • Some Personal Property Assistance

Locally, churches, food banks, social services organizations, and other Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COADs) may also be a source of aid during the recovery process.

To learn more about voluntary organizations, visit the Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (MAVOAD) website.

FEMA Individual Assistance: Individuals and Households

Depending on the severity and magnitude of the event and the damage, a federal Major Disaster Declaration may be declared. The disaster declaration may include Individual Assistance, which includes Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program. Under this program, disaster assistance may be provided as financial or direct assistance to individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of the federally-declared disaster, and whose losses are not covered by insurance. The Individuals and Households Program, which is administered by FEMA, includes both housing assistance to assist disaster survivors with housing needs and other needs assistance for other eligible expenses.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance

In the absence of insurance coverage, the SBA Disaster Loan Program may offer low-interest loans to qualifying businesses, individuals, and families. SBA loans can be made available with or without a federal major disaster declaration and are considered the primary source of disaster recovery funds.

FEMA Public Assistance: Local, State, Tribal, and Non-Profit

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program (PA) provides assistance to state and local governments, as well as certain types of private non-profit organizations, so that communities can recover from major disasters or emergencies.