Corpus Christi, TX -- Some 15,000 South Texans have registered for various forms of state and federal assistance since President George W. Bush's July 17 disaster declaration. The registration deadline for individuals and business owners is September 15, 2003.
Anyone in the declared counties (Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, DeWitt, Frio, Galveston, Goliad, Jackson, Karnes, Live Oak, Matagorda, McMullen, Refugio, Victoria, San Patricio and Zavala) who had damages from Hurricane Claudette and who has not registered should call FEMA's toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY: 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. The lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Assistance totaling $22.7 million has been approved to date, including:
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 584 low-interest disaster loans totaling $5.6 million for repairing or replacing damaged property. SBA urges those who receive application packets to complete the applications and return them quickly. Completing the application is necessary to be eligible for other forms of assistance.
- Disaster Housing Program funds totaling $10.4 million. The program includes assistance for basic housing repairs, short-term rental assistance or reimbursement of hotel/motel expenses.
- Funds for Other Needs Assistance total $6.76 million. This program provides grants to individuals who have disaster-related needs for which disaster loans are not available.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available by calling the Texas Workforce Commission Tele-Center at 1-800-939-6631. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The filing deadline for those in Aransas County is September 5, 2003.
- Referral services and short-term intervention counseling is available for both adults and children affected by Hurricane Claudette. Crisis counseling assistance is available by calling these hotline numbers:
Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Refugio and Victoria counties- 1-800-421-8825
Matagorda County- 1-800-633-5686
Aransas, Bee, Live Oak and San Patricio counties- 1-800-841-6467
Brazoria and Galveston counties- 1-800-643-0967
Atascosa, McMullen and Zavala counties- 1-800-543-5750
- The State Bar of Texas provides free legal assistance and answers to basic legal questions for those in the disaster declared counties. In addition to answering questions, volunteer lawyers will give referral information in English and Spanish. The number to call is 1-800-504-7030.
- The FEMA toll-free registration number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The number for the hearing or speech impaired is (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- Disaster Recovery Centers were established for those who have already registered and who need to talk with someone about their application. Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are in the centers to provide assistance with filling out SBA loan application packets. Crisis counselors are also in the centers.