AUSTIN, Texas -- Five months since a Sept. 9 major disaster declaration for the Texas wildfires, assistance to survivors and affected communities has topped $39 million, recovery officials said Thursday. Of the total, more than $13.8 million is in state and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery grants for Texans and their families.
The $13.8 million includes more than $11 million in rental assistance and grants to repair and rebuild homes, as well as nearly $2.7 million for other disaster-related needs such as personal property, medical care and funeral expenses. Also included is more than $97,660 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance for workers or the self-employed who lost their jobs or have been unable to work due to the disaster.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $20.9 million in low-interest disaster loans for 191 homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes affected by the wildfires.
“It has been a difficult five months for wildfire survivors but we are seeing positive signs of recovery in the affected communities,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “Our goal has been to help speed Texas’ recovery by ensuring a brisk flow of assistance.”
In addition to Individual Assistance, more than $4.5 million has been obligated to the state under FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program, whose applicants include the state and its agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations.
Eligible applicants in 61 Texas counties can apply for FEMA PA reimbursements for the cost of removing wildfire-related debris from public rights of way, for measures taken to protect lives and property before, during and after the blazes, and to help defray the cost of repairing infrastructure damaged or destroyed during the wildfires.
A total of 4,119 wildfire survivors registered with FEMA across the 23 counties designated for Individual Assistance. Although the registration period has ended, Texas homeowners, renters and business owners can still get questions answered or check on the status of their application at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 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. Assistants are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362. For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The mission of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, is to support the citizens of Texas and local jurisdictions as they plan for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the impacts of all hazards, emergencies and disasters. For more information, see: www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem.
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 mitigat...