CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Checks totaling $831,593.28 in disaster housing assistance grants have been issued to victims of Hurricane Bret, state and federal officials announced today. Thus far, 911 checks have been mailed.
"This early in the recovery process the concern of the State of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is to make sure hurricane victims have access to safe, secure and sanitary housing," said Brad Gair, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery.
Disaster housing assistance comes in the form of grants for alternate rental housing, or emergency repairs needed to make a residence habitable. Generally, this assistance serves as an interim solution to people's housing needs until long-term solutions are addressed, typically through insurance or loans.
Residents in 13 Texas counties are eligible for individual assistance under President Clinton's disaster declaration. Although some applicants may receive checks sooner, it could take 15 to 20 days for applicants to receive assistance checks after they apply, Gair said.
State coordinating officer Ed Laundy encouraged persons in the designated jurisdictions who suffered losses to homes or businesses in the hurricane and subsequent flooding to apply for assistance. They may do so by calling the toll-free application number, 1-800-462-9029. Those with a speech or hearing impairment can call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Both lines are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT seven days a week until further notice.
The Presidential declaration makes individual assistance funds available in Aransas, Brooks, Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio, Webb, and Willacy counties.