AUSTIN, Texas -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the request of the state of Texas, has activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) initiative in 12 counties designated for federal aid under the disaster declaration for the Texas wildfires. Additionally, TSA has been extended in previously approved Bastrop County.
TSA now allows eligible Texas wildfire evacuees from Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Travis, Walker, Waller and Williamson counties who cannot return to their homes to stay in hotels or motels until more suitable housing accommodations are available.
This federal assistance is intended to provide a place to stay for a longer period of time for evacuees whose neighborhoods are inaccessible or whose houses have been destroyed. The assistance is available in all 13 counties until Nov. 9, 2011. However, this federal program will not reimburse applicants for previously incurred hotel expenses. Applicants are responsible for their own meals and for any lodging costs above the authorized allowance.
"Registering with FEMA is the first step to this potential short-term aid," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes. "We are working closely with our state and local partners to develop a longer-term housing solution to help Texans severely affected by the wildfires."
Survivors can register for FEMA assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smart phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Eligible evacuees must fit the following criteria:
- FEMA must be able to verify the identity of the evacuee;
- The primary residence of the evacuee must be in one of the counties that has been designated a disaster area; and
- The primary residence is inaccessible or unlivable due to damage or lack of power.
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.