AUSTIN, Texas -- More than $5.8 million in state and federal grants is on its way to eligible Texans, just two weeks since the state requested, and received, a federal disaster declaration for the historic wildfires.
Officials from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say the money is headed toward eligible homeowners and renters in 13 Texas counties: Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Travis, Walker, Waller and Williamson.
To date nearly $4.7 million in Housing Assistance has been approved for Texans and nearly $726,000 in Other Needs Assistance (ONA). Almost $379,000 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been allocated for Texans whose jobs were lost or disrupted by wildfires.
As of Friday, more than 3,000 Texas individuals and families had registered for that aid. Meanwhile, nearly 2,300 Texans had received answers to their questions about recovery programs or help with registering from specialists at six recovery centers in affected communities -- and more centers are opening regularly.
"Many Texans were forced out of their homes because of the wildfires, so FEMA is working closely with the state to get grants out quickly," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. "This assistance is vital in allowing survivors to begin their recovery."
Housing Assistance is reaching individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. The grants are not intended to restore damaged property to its condition prior to the disaster, but will help residents get started again.
ONA grants help repair or replace personal property damaged or destroyed during the wildfires. Grants also can cover transportation costs, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial costs.
DUA provides temporary unemployment insurance to workers or the self-employed who lost their jobs or have been unable to work due to a disaster. The program is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission.
Survivors should register by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov, logging on via web-enabled phone or tablet at m.fema.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. FEMA's registration and help lines are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, and multilingual operators are available.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.