Post-Disaster Financial Recovery

Natural disasters can strike any time. Even if you’re prepared, recovery can be a long, painstaking process. Fortunately, help is available.

MMI is proud to offer financial recovery counseling and personalized assistance for disaster survivors through Project Porchlight.

Already a Porchlight client? Click here to access your online learning account

How it Works

There are four main components to Project Porchlight.

  • Assessing your disaster impact and developing a recovery plan | We know that every disaster and household is unique. Our disaster recovery specialist will take the time to understand the challenges you face and create a plan to bring you back to “normal” as quickly as possible.
  • Assisting with your FEMA aid and insurance paperwork | Our trained professionals will guide you through the application and appeals process. At the same time, we will provide tips and tools to manage your financial obligations while awaiting aid or insurance payments.
  • Monthly support from your recovery specialist | A Project Porchlight counselor will be in regular contact with you for up to one year, providing guidance, encouragement, and resources throughout the recovery process.
  • Community, encouragement, and continuing education | Porchlight Online provides you with a moderated forum to find support from other survivors. It also provides information on how to avoid common scams, navigate insurance issues, connect with assistance programs, prepare for future disasters, and more.

Who Can Benefit?

Project Porchlight is available to anyone in the United States who has been impacted by a natural disaster. Some of the most common reasons people seek post-disaster financial recovery counseling include:

  • Your income or employment has been interrupted due to the disaster
  • Your home was damaged and you are juggling extra housing expenses or paying for items not covered by insurance
  • You feel overwhelmed and confused by the FEMA aid or insurance application or appeal process
  • You’ve fallen behind on loan payments and want to minimize damage to your credit report
  • You’ve experienced increased out-of-pocket expenses and aren’t able to keep up on all of your bills
  • You’ve tapped savings, retirement, credit cards, or loans to finance your recovery and want to minimize the long-term negative impact to your finances

Basically, if the financial impact of a natural disaster is causing you distress and you aren't sure what to do next, Project Porchlight can be an unbiased, free source of advice and support.

Why Choose MMI?

We recognize that consumers have options. So what separates MMI?

  1. Quality - MMI is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER). We are proud to be accredited by the prestigious Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children.
  2. Knowledge - Our post-disaster financial recovery coaching was born out of personal experience and a passion for helping survivors thrive (to learn more read about Kate Bulger, the visionary behind Project Porchlight). In addition, all Project Porchlight counselors must pass a series of tests and receive additional specialized post-disaster training.
  3. Accessibility - You can access our services by phone, or request a phone call from us online. Project Porchlight counselors are available from 8am to 8pm central time, Monday through Friday.
  4. Nonprofit - As a nonprofit counseling agency, our priority is always the success and wellbeing of the people we serve. You can always expect honest, unbiased advice and guidance.
  5. History - MMI has been helping consumers find new ways to overcome financial challenges since 1958.

FAQs

IS THERE A COST TO USE THIS SERVICE?

No. Thanks to a generous grant from a major foundation, Project Porchlight is provided to survivors at no cost to them, for a limited time.

HOW LONG DOES A TYPICAL COUNSELING SESSION LAST?

Project Porchlight is a one-year program made up of the following:

  • An initial intake counseling session of anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.
  • Monthly check-in coaching sessions which can range from a few minutes up to an hour, depending on your needs.
  • Additional sessions may occur on an as-needed basis.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF WORKING WITH A PROJECT PORCHLIGHT COUNSELOR?

We know from experience that survivors of natural disasters face daunting challenges, a steep learning curve, and often a long path to recovery. Project Porchlight can accelerate your recovery by helping you understand your rights, responsibilities, and options as you move from crisis to control after a disaster.

WHEN SHOULD I CONNECT WITH PROJECT PORCHLIGHT?

Project Porchlight is a not a day one resource. Your first priority should be safety and the welfare of your family. Once you’re safe and things are stable, please don’t hesitate to connect with a Project Porchlight counselor.

If too much time has passed, however, you will have fewer options available – it’s better to reach out too early than too late.

DO YOU OFFER DISASTER RELIEF FINANCIAL AID?

No. Project Porchlight is a program of MMI that supports disaster survivors through counseling, application assistance, creditor mediation, and resources or referrals, but we do not provide financial aid.

Getting Started

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Additional Resources

Support Programs for Immediate and Long-Term Disaster Relief

Recovering from a natural disaster is an arduous process, requiring time, resources, and fortitude on multiple fronts. While it’s undoubtedly a difficult journey, nobody has to go through the process alone. Here are organizations ready to provide the services and support necessary to help you return to normal as soon as possible.

Five Steps to Achieving Financial Stability After a Natural Disaster

For many people, living through a catastrophe can disrupt their income, stressing savings accounts and credit limits as out-of-pocket costs plunge them into debt. Ready for some good news? By making the right moves after a disaster event, full recovery is possible. Here are the steps to take.

Click here for more disaster recovery articles »

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