AUSTIN, Texas -- More than $1 million in additional disaster assistance is getting to wildfire survivors as a result of a new initiative launched by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Texas.
Under the initiative, wildfire survivors in 23 Texas counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance are getting follow-up phone calls from a team of FEMA outreach liaisons. They are helping applicants with the appeal process, explaining letters they may have received from FEMA and assisting applicants with gathering the documentation needed for their claims.
Since the late summer wildfires, the state and FEMA have approved more than $13.5 million in grants for Texas individuals and families. The grants are for temporary housing, home repair and reconstruction, and for other needs, including personal property replacement or disaster-related medical and dental expenses. The total includes $1 million in assistance resulting from the outreach initiative.
“With this proactive approach we’re reducing the number of survivors determined ineligible for federal assistance because of incomplete or missing information,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin Hannes of FEMA. “The recovery process is difficult for those who suffered great loss, and we want to ensure all survivors get the maximum grant they are eligible to receive.”
“Another benefit of survivor outreach is that FEMA can more quickly close cases and thus get survivors referred to long-term recovery committees to assist them with any unmet needs,” said Susan Tompkins, head of FEMA’s Individual Assistance branch for the wildfire recovery mission. “This is speeding the pace of recovery for everyone.”
The outreach effort will continue until all eligible survivors are contacted by FEMA, Tompkins said.
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.