On Friday, March 24, 2023, high winds and devastating storms swept through the Mississippi Delta. In response, President Biden declared a major disaster and ordered Federal aid to be released to assist ongoing local recovery efforts. This federal funding will help to ensure four counties, Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, and Sharkey, receive immediate aid.
In the wake of this tragedy, the Mississippi Center for Justice is committed to supporting the ongoing recovery efforts taking place in the affected communities. We offer free legal services in a variety of areas, including Heirs’ Property. The Heirs’ Property Campaign works to alleviate the issues that surround heirs’ property ownership.
Heirs’ property is land passed down informally from generation to generation, often because the original landowners died without a will. While their descendants may have assumed the mortgage or tax payments and may have been living on the property for generations, there is no clear title or legal record proving they own the property.
Without a clear title or legal deed, these landowners may not be able to collect federal or state disaster relief funds or insurance benefits. They won’t be able to suspend mortgage payments on houses no longer standing. They won’t even be able to sell their property in order to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Heirs’ property issues most often affect racial minority groups, low-income households, and other vulnerable groups less likely to engage in estate planning – a similar demographic affected by the tornados.
Here at the Mississippi Center for Justice, our Heirs’ Property Campaign offers services that will help heirs’ property owners keep, protect, and utilize their land for generations to come. We work to clear land titles for landowners and draft wills. In the wake of the recent storms and the devastation that has followed, MCJ has mobilized to assist the residents of Rolling Fork, Silver City, and other affected communities in resolving heirs’ property issues.
MCJ will offer boots-on-the-ground help, including legal clinics in the affected communities and free legal assistance for individual property owners. We’ll also be working at the policy level, asking title companies, government agencies, and others involved in the process of properly titling land to waive their fees for those affected by the storm.
As part of our mobilization efforts, the Mississippi Center for Justice has established a hotline, for individuals and families who face issues related to heirs’ property ownership. You can call the MCJ Rebuild Hotline at 662-577-4529 or email us at email@example.com.
We have also created a list of resources for those impacted by the tornadoes below:
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson
United States House of Representatives- Mississippi Second Congressional District
The office of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson has created a Disaster Resources & Assistance guide for affected communities. The guide offers resources for the counties of Carroll, Humphreys, Montgomery, Panola, and Sharkey, with information on ways to apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance, FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, SNAP Assistance, and more.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and Information
The deadline to apply for disaster assistance is May 25, 2023. If your primary residence (owned or rented) in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe,
Panola, Sharkey or Montgomery counties was damaged in the March tornadoes, you can apply for FEMA assistance by visiting a Disaster
Recovery Center or by calling 800-621-3362. Impacted residents may also go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or use the FEMA App.
Click FEMA Update for Survivors now to for more disaster resource information.
FEMA has opened Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in six Mississippi counties. Sharkey, Monroe, Humphreys, Carroll, Montgomery, and Panola. Listed below are the locations for the Disaster Recovery Centers in each county.
Mississippi Department of Education
Families of K-12 students who are now displaced due to recent storms can enroll their child in a nearby school district. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, verification documents such as birth certificates and vaccination records are NOT needed.
Mississippi State Department of Health
If you or a family member need to replace a birth certificate lost during the recent tornadoes, you can order a replacement at no charge. Please visit the temporary Multi-Agency Coordination Center in Rolling Fork located at 19881 Highway 61 South (parking lot of Redmon Funeral Chapel) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 10, or Tuesday, April 11 to place your order. Representatives from other agencies will also be on-site to provide assistance.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
MEMA is encouraging residents who can to report their damage using MEMA’s Self-Report Tool. MEMA has provided deadlines for storm disaster victims below:
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health
Insurance Coverage for Tornado Damage
Follow these steps when filing a claim:
|Location||Address||Point of Contact||Hours of Operation|
|Humphrey’s County Emergency Management Agency||106 East Street Silver City, MS||Tamekia Jones 662-836-8347||8:00a- 6:00p|
|1825 Hwy 61 South Vicksburg, MS 39180||TJ Tennison
|Mississippi Fairgrounds||1207 Mississippi Street Jackson, MS 39202||MHP Troop C 601-420-6342
|8:00a – 6:30p|
MHP Patrol Troop K
|16741 Highway 67, Biloxi, MS||228-534-8619||9a-3p (March 28 -March 30)
|MHP Patrol Troop F||1103 Bratton Road, New Albany, MS||662-534-8619||9a-3p (March 28 -March 30)
|Old Amory Garment||902 Main Street South Amory, MS||Patty Parker 662-257-2474
|9:00a – 6:30p|
|Amory Regional Museum||801 3rd Street South Amory, MS||Wayne Knox 662-315-1849, 662-256-276||9:00a- 6:30p|
|Carroll-County-Old Vaiden High School Gym||504 Mulberry Vaiden, MS 39176||Stella Bell 662-897-0511|
Types of Donations Needed:
HUD announces a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
HUD Announces Waivers to Help Mississippi Communities Recover From Storms and Tornadoes
Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Section 203(H) Under HUD
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans:
U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security Relief Efforts:
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
American Property Casualty Insurance Association Tornado Recovery Tips:
Click here for more information.
Mississippi Insurance Department (MID)
The Mississippi Insurance Department will be in Amory at the Justice Court Building located at 1619 Highway 25, Amory, MS, Tuesday, April 18 until Thursday, April 20, from 10 am-2 pm to assist storm survivors with insurance questions.
Details can be found here: MID Press Release
Mississippi Department of Human Services
MDHS officials have annouced they will begin the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) operations in the following counties affected by the March 24-25 tornado in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, Montgomery, Panola, and Sharkey counties. D-SNAP provides eligible households who do not currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits with help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.
D-SNAP applications will be taken in Montgomery, Humphreys, Sharkey, and Carroll counties the week of April 17-22. Applications will be taken in Monroe and Panola counties the week of April 25-30.
MDHS will take in-person D-SNAP applications at the following sites and times: