AUSTIN, Texas. -- Just three weeks after a major disaster declaration for the Texas wildfires, state and federal assistance has topped $8.6 million. The aid includes grants to eligible homeowners and renters and low-interest disaster loans for those whose jobs were affected by the wildfires.
Since the Sept. 9 disaster declaration for wildfires that occurred on or after Aug. 30, 22 counties have been designated for Individual Assistance in the form of state and federal grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Survivors are working hard to repair and rebuild after the wildfires,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “The state and federal assistance helps support their efforts to recover.”
FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management provided the following breakdown of assistance levels as of Friday for the 22 counties designated for Individual Assistance:
PROGRAMS: TOTAL ASSISTANCE
Housing Assistance: $5,972,629
Other Needs Assistance: $1,407,880
SBA low-interest disaster loans: $1,225,600
The Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance (ONA) programs provide grants to eligible survivors for temporary housing and home repairs needed to make the home safe and sanitary and to replace personal property damaged or destroyed in the disaster. The grants are not meant to restore damaged property to its predisaster condition. ONA grants also can help pay medical, dental, funeral and burial expenses incurred as a result of the disaster.
The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.
The 22 counties designated for state and federal Individual Assistance are Anderson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Cass, Colorado, Fayette, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Rusk, Smith, Travis, Upshur, Walker, Waller and Williamson.
Texans can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. FEMA phone lines are open 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.